Qualifying for the global football showpiece remains Malawi’s ambition but the midfielder claims the Flames are not in haste to achieve that
Gerald Phiri feels Malawi can qualify for their maiden Fifa World Cup, insisting “nothing is impossible” for the Southern Africans.
Since their maiden appearance in the qualifying campaign for Argentina in 1978, the Flames have failed to qualify for 10 different editions of the quadrennial football showpiece.
Although the 26-year-old claims his country stands a chance to qualify for Qatar, he says his teams are not mounting pressure on themselves.
“It’s obviously a dream but nothing is impossible. We have the talent and every chance,” Phiri told Fifa.com.
However, we’re not putting any pressure on ourselves as this is a learning process for us. Our team is young, so we have to be patient and mature fully.”
The midfielder boasts nine goals in 31 international appearances, his effort against Botswana was the most significant of all.
After a 0-0 draw in the first round, first leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Phiri’s 81st-minute strike inside Kamuzu Stadium, Blantyre sent the Zebras packing.
“Of course, I’ll treasure that one too! It was a particularly intense moment: a penalty awarded in the 80th minute with the match tied,” he continued.
“Throw in a packed stadium and the high stakes involved… I was a little nervous but, in spite of that, I managed to keep my head.”
The Baroka star is the son of Malawian legend and ex-manager, Gerald Phiri Sr. The son talked about how his father helped his football career.
“My father has obviously played a big part in my career. He helped me a lot at the start, and we still talk a great deal,” he added.
“His advice is invaluable and is both that of a father and a football expert, but it hasn’t always been easy. We’re still waiting for the son to do as well as the father.
“Though I don’t think we should compare ourselves. I just hope to make him proud of my career, which I think he is.”