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Football | Nigeria

Malawi, Nigeria tango in Blantyre

Nigeria's Super Eagles will confront the Flames of Malawi in a 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifying at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre this Saturday.

Malawi vs Nigeria - Text Commentary

The West Africans lead Group F of the World Cup qualification on three points and need to avoid defeat to stay top or remain in contention to win their pool.

Malawi and Kenya are tied on one point apiece.

The clash in Blantyre has the potential of throwing up a runaway leader or new leader depending on its outcome and the result between Namibia and Kenya.

Stephen Keshi's men are no doubt favourites going into this game as they are ranked higher by Fifa than their Southern African counterparts.

The Super Eagles are also yet to lose a game against the Flames since the 1978 clash at the All Africa Games.

In the last four head-to-head meetings, Nigeria have won all including a 1-0 win in Blantyre on March 29, 2003 in which John Utaka scored the winner.

Utaka is one of the 23 players in the Nigerian contingent for this game and the Malawians will be wary of his capabilities.

The closest the Malawians came to defeating Nigeria was at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations in Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire on March 8.

The Flames raced into a two-goal lead in a Group B game before the Eagles under then coach Adegboye Onigbinde rallied back to 2-2.

Nigeria have injury concerns going into this game with Keshi leaving out experienced captain and defender, Joseph Yobo as well as Nnamdi Oduamadi, Ekigho Ehiosun and Fengor Ogude.

The Malawians, on the other hand, are not short of talent with the like of Joseph Kamwendo, James Sangala, Simplex Nthala, Moses Chavula and teenage striker, Robin Ngalande ready to operate in their usual 4-4-2 formation.

Despite the growing talent in Kinnah Phiri's team, they have failed to win in their last five games against Kenya, Chad, Ethiopia and Tanzania over two legs.

The Nigerian manager, Keshi said the form guide of Malawi counts for nothing ahead of Saturday's clash.

"They've not won in five games doesn't really matter. They were able to take a point in Kenya we shouldn't forget that, and that tells you they are not just a team to underrate," Keshi told SuperSport.com.

"We will play to our full strength and make sure we get a result or at worst avoid a defeat."

Head-to-head of Malawi v Nigeria

African Cup of Nations 2004, Qualifying tournament, Group 1; June 7, 2003 (Abuja): Nigeria 4 – 1 Malawi

African Cup of Nations 2004, Qualifying tournament, Group 1; March 29, 2003 (Blantyre): Malawi 0 – 1 Nigeria

Friendly international 2000; June 6, 2000: Nigeria 4 – 1 Malawi

Friendly international 2000; June 4, 2000: Nigeria 3 – 2 Malawi

African Cup of Nations 1984, Group B; March 8, 1984 (Bouake): Malawi 2 – 2 Nigeria

All-Africa Games 1978, Semifinal; July 25, 1978: Nigeria 3 – 2 Malawi


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