Qualification history
A long way off the pace during their early qualifying campaigns, Malawi experienced a breakthrough of sorts on the road to South Africa 2010, with Guinea among their victims as they posted some notable wins. They continued in the same vein four years later but suffered the same fate as Morocco, Mali and Zambia, finishing second in their section – behind Nigeria – and missing out on a spot in the third round and the chance to pursue their dream of a FIFA World Cup™ place.

The team
Judging by their promising bid to reach the 2015 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Malawi are closing the gap on Africa's leading sides. What their players still lack is a certain level of experience, and the extra pedigree that comes from spending time in Europe's more competitive leagues. Malawi are clearly not short on quality, however, as proved by the talents of chief orchestrator Joseph Kamwendo, along with experienced defender Moses Chavula and forward Chiukepo Msowoya.

The coach
Ernest Mtawali was elevated from a caretaker's role to Malawi's permanent coach with a one-year contract during the first weekend of August. Malawi sacked Young Chimodzi in mid-June after losing their opening 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at home to Zimbabwe.

The stat
5'6 – Joseph Kamwendo may be one of the smallest players in the Malawi squad, but the captain and playmaker is the undisputed star of the side.

The former stars
Kinnah Phiri, Essau Kanyenda