Speaking upon arrival from Tanzania where they held their preparations, head coach Kinnah Phiri said he was expecting to perform well against Kenya despite lacking key players including his captain Peter Mponda in his squad.
“We are used to big games, we are relaxed and have come to play and you should expect a good display from us.
“Kenya is a good side with some good players but the best thing we have done is to bring with us some youthful players and make sure that they perform,” he charged at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on touch down.
The Flames were held to a barren draw by Taifa Stars in an international friendly over the weekend before facing Islanders Zanzibar in their build-up to the Group F opening qualifier.
“We have been there to enable domestic players blend in with the professionals besides acclimatizing since the weather there is just similar to Kenya,” the tactician explained.
Phiri feels that starting away will give them an edge over their opponents but he will be without Mponda and top scorer Moses Chavula for the match.
“We have left them behind since they are not yet fit due to injuries but we will definitely have them back for our next fixtures against Nigeria and Chad,” he explained.
Despite having a good recent head to head record against Stars, that includes a 2-0 win in the CECAFA regional tournament last year; Phiri declared they would not undervalue the hosts.
“We have prepared well for the match, we know Kenya is at home and we are all looking to get the best results but we won’t underrate our opponents,” he affirmed
After the weekend tie, the team will face another Group F rival, Nigeria away before they host Chad in their second-leg encounter of 2013 Africa Cup of Nations knock-out fixture at the Kamunzu Stadium in Blantyre.