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Preview: Malawi vs. Uganda - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Malawi and Uganda, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Uganda will be looking to secure their spot in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations when they finish their Group B campaign away to Malawi on Monday evening.

The visitors are currently second in their section behind already-qualified Burkina Faso, while Malawi occupy third spot, one point behind Uganda ahead of this key encounter.


Match preview

Malawi are bidding to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time in their history, having previously competed in the finals in both 1984 and 2010.

Meke Mwase's side opened their Group B campaign with a 1-0 victory over South Sudan but then suffered back-to-back defeats to the top two sides in the section, Uganda and Burkina Faso.

A draw at home to Burkina Faso followed in November 2020 before recording a 1-0 victory away to South Sudan on Wednesday courtesy of a second-half effort from Richard Mbulu.

Malawi occupy third spot in the group, one point behind second-placed Uganda, meaning that they will need to win on Monday to ensure their spot in the finals of the competition, which begins in January 2022.

Johnny McKinstry, now in charge of Uganda, pictured in 2014© Reuters

Uganda, meanwhile, have not failed to qualify for the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations since 2015, and they reached the round of 16 in the 2019 competition, ultimately losing 1-0 to Senegal.

The Cranes have never won the tournament, but they were runners-up in 1978, and it would be a surprise if they were unable to secure their position in the finals, with a draw on Monday enough to advance.

As mentioned, Uganda are currently second in the section, a point behind leaders Burkina Faso, meaning that first position is still open, but they could also finish down in third.

Johnathan McKinstry's side made a strong start to their Group B campaign as they took seven points from three matches against Burkina Faso, Malawi and South Sudan, but a point from their last two matches against South Sudan and Burkina Faso means that qualification is not yet secure.

Malawi AFCON qualification form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Malawi form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Uganda AFCON qualification form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D

Uganda form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D


Team News

Uganda's Allan Kyambadde in action with Senegal's Sadio Mane in July 2019© Reuters

Malawi's performance and indeed result against South Sudan on Wednesday means that it would not be a surprise to see an unchanged XI for Monday's key encounter.

Gerald Phiri Junior scored the only goal of the match last time out and should again feature in a midfield area, while Gabadinho Mhango is likely to keep his spot in a wide position.

Khuda Muyaba is still waiting for his first international goal, but the 27-year-old could earn his fifth cap in a forward area alongside Richard Mbulu, who netted the winner against South Sudan.

As for Uganda, head coach McKinstry has no fresh injury concerns from the side that started the goalless draw with Burkina Faso on Wednesday and could name an unchanged side.

Emmanuel Okwi is the team's vice-captain and the leading goalscorer in the squad with 26, and the 28-year-old is a certainty to feature in a forward position for the visitors.

Denis Onyango will again skipper the team from the goalkeeping position, while Lumala Abdu could win his ninth cap from midfield.

Malawi possible starting lineup:
Kakhobwe; Sanudi, Petro, Mzava, Sambani; Peter Banda, Junior, John Banda, Mhango; Muyaba, Mbulu

Uganda possible starting lineup:
Onyango; Wadada, Lwaliwa, Jjuko, Ochaya; Azira, Lwanga, Abdu, Miya; Okwi, Kaddu


SM words green background

We say: Malawi 0-1 Uganda

Uganda are in a strong position to qualify for the finals, and although we are expecting a tight and cagey game on Monday evening, the visitors should have enough to secure all three points.


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Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
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RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
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· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

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