AFCON 2021: Malawi's Flames Receive Praise for Surprise but Deserved Last 16 Progress
- Southern Africa has only one contestant remaining in the tournament as the 2021 African Cup of Nations group stages wind down
- Malawi, competing in just its third tournament after appearances in 1984 and 2010, qualified for the last 16 in surprising fashion
- The so-called minnows have received praise for their achievement from across the board, with the sky now being the limit
The people of Malawi and other well wishers have given praise to the Flames after their progression into the last 16 of the 2021 African Cup of Nations.
Playing in just its third AFCON tournament, having qualified in 1984 and 2010, Malawi was drawn in a tough Group B including favourites Senegal, Guinea and Zimbabwe.
After a close 1-0 loss to Guinea, they rallied to defeat Zimbabwe, before keeping out the Lions of Teranga in a 0-0. These results left them on four points, ensuring that they were part of the four best third-place finishers who qualified for the knockout stages.
Football enthusiasts heaped praise on the team for its first ever progression to the playoffs.
"What a story… #TeamMalawi had only ever qualified for AFCON twice before this year - and only won one of their six games. Now, after a draw against a star-studded Senegal, they’re into the knockout stages of #AFCON2021. Love this tournament, me."
"And this time we are going to win it. 1 percent chance 99 percent faith. Malawi AFCON 2021 winners."
"Congratulations to the Flames of Malawi for making it into last 16 of 2021 AFCON in Cameroon #goflamesgo #flamesimaotcha. The sky is the limit. Thanks to @thenff and The Egyptians for their victories today against Guinea-Bissau and Sudan respectively."
Black Stars defender Alexander Djiku apologises to Ghanaians after early AFCON exit
Alexander Djiku, one of Ghana's shining lights at the Africa Cup of Nations, has apologised to Ghanaians for the team's shambolic display at the tournament in Cameroon.
As reported on Sports Brief, the Black Stars were booted out of the Nations Cup at the group stages following a 3-2 defeat to debutants Comoros Island on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
The Strasbourg defender, who was on target in the game, took to Twitter to ask Ghanaians for forgiveness and adds the team will work hard to qualify for the World Cup.