When the draw for the African Cup of Nations preliminary stages was finally done, Ghana?s Black Stars were pitched with the Flames of Malawi.

This draw brought calmness in the country as the draw had some mouth-watering fixtures to talk about, notably the Elephants of L?CoteDivore against the Lions of Taranga of Senegal.

Malawi, formally Nyasaland until 1966 is located in the Council of South Africa Football Association (COSAFA) region of Africa as their sub-confederation.

Currently ranked 90th in the world by FIFA, they have managed two runner-up spots in the COSAFA cup, the South African version of West African Football Union (WAFU) in 2002 and 2003, where they lost to South Africa and Zimbabwe.

They have also emerged three time champions of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA), in 1979, after beating Tanzania, 1980 and 1988, after beating Zambia twice.

They also have finished three times as runners up and only a bronze medal to show for their appearance in the All African games football competition in 1987.

The country has never made it to the World Cup and with only two appearances in the Nation?s Cup in 1984 and 2010.

They made an excellent start to the 2010 Cup of Nations by beating Algeria 3-0, but that was the only meaningful impact they made as they bowed out in the first round.

From their first competitive international match which coincidentally was against Ghana, they lost by a whopping 0-12 in their own backyard on 15th October 1962.

They appeared as Nyasaland in that match because they were not independent. Again, that 0-12 defeat to Ghana is up-to-date their biggest defeat in their football history and a similar victory in September for the Stars will be gladly welcomed by the Ghanaian football fraternity.

It has been a year now since the Flames last lost a game on 6th of July, 2011 to Namibia in Mzuzu in an international friendly and they have never lost a game since then in five subsequent matches.

With a 0-0 drawn game to Tunisia, to their last competitive game against Chad, which ended 2-0 in a 2013 AFCON qualifier which propelled them into the draw a few months ago in South Africa, the Flames have very fine footballers mostly on the African continent.

With players like Peter Mponda as their captain, who will be 32 years by the time the match comes on and with 71 caps to his name, the defender from Black Leopards in South Africa is one player that Ghana Coach Kwasi Appiah and his charges must look out for.

The Malawians can look up to players like Moses Chavula, a defender, Joseph Kamwendo a midfielder and their B93 Danish team striker, Essua Kanyendaon any given day for their assignment.

The country is currently coached by Kinnah Phiri who took charge in 2009 and led his charges to a 1-1 drawn game against Nigeria in a crucial 2014 world cup qualifying match in Blantyre, Malawi.

The Flames seem to have the better of the Zambians, a team which has beaten the Black Stars in the past two meetings in February?s Cup of Nations and most recently in a World Cup qualifier in June, games the Stars lost by 1 ? 0 each.

The Flames beat Zambia again last month in an independence anniversary match 1 ? 0 in Blantyre.

With the first leg coming on in Ghana, on a yet to be decided date between 7-9 September and a return clash on the 12-14 of October, the two teams will be hoping to make it to the second Cup of Nations to be hosted in South Africa.

This will be the 29th edition of the tournament since its inception in 1957.

Whereas the Black Stars will be hoping for a 19th appearance since joining the competition in 1963, the Flames will be hoping for their third appearance.

For the Black Stars on the other hand, with Kwasi Appiah in a ?hot chimney? following a 1-0 loss to African champions Zambia in a world cup qualifier in Ndola last June, this match is surely a make or break for them.

They need to regain the confidence of the team that followed their auspicious 7-0 victory over Lesotho. I hope the stars will not be contemptuous to the Malawians.

After playing to a 1 ? 1 drawn game against China on Wednesday, the Stars welcomed back striker Asamoah Gyan into the national team after a self-imposed ban after the 2012 Africa cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

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