Sports Mole previews Friday’s World Cup Qualifying – Africa clash between Liberia and Malawi, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The road to the 2026 World Cup begins for both Liberia and Malawi when they go head to head at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Group H on Friday.
Off the back of an underwhelming campaign in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, both nations will be absent when the continental showpiece takes centre stage in the next eight weeks.
The Lone Stars of Liberia brought their 2023 AFCON qualifiers to an end on October 17 when they suffered a 3-0 thrashing against Morocco at the Adrar Stadium.
In a one-sided affair, Amine Harit, Ayoub El Kaabi and Bayer Leverkusen man Amine Adli all found the back of the net to hand the Atlas Lions all three points in front of their home supporters.
Ansumana Keita‘s men have now lost four games on the bounce across all competitions and are without a win in their last seven, losing five and claiming two draws since a 2-1 victory over Senegal in the Africa Nations Championship in July 2022.
Liberia now return home where they have lost four of their last five matches across all competitions, with a 3-1 victory over Central African Republic in the World Cup qualifiers back in November 2021 being the exception.
Like Thursday’s host, Malawi brought their AFCON qualifying campaign to an end last time out when they came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw against Guinea at the Bingu National Stadium.
Aguibou Camara and Saidou Sow scored in a two-minute spell to cancel out Robert Saizi‘s first-half opener but Lawrence Chaziya struck with two minutes left in the game to force a share of the spoils.
With that result, Malawi ended the AFCON qualifiers with just one win in their six matches while losing three and claiming two draws to pick up five points and finish third in Group D.
The Flames have also failed to win any of their last three matches across all competitions, including a penalty-shootout defeat against South Africa in the COSAFA Cup third-place playoff on July 16.
While Malawi will look to end this poor run and pick up a dream start to their quest for a first-ever World Cup appearance, they go up against a Malawi side who are unbeaten in each of their previous three encounters, claiming two wins and one draw.
Their most recent encounter came in a friendly fixture back in September 2012, when Zah Krangar netted an 88th-minute winner to hand the Lone Stars a narrow victory at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium.
Liberia form (all competitions):
Malawi form (all competitions):
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Liberia have named a 23-man squad for November’s games against Malawi and Equatorial Guinea, with Keita retaining the core of players that featured in the AFCON qualifiers.
Arago Jamal, Mohammed Sangare, Sampson Dweh and Mark Pabai all started the game against Morocco last time out and should form the back four once again, with 26-year-old Boison Wynney starting between the sticks.
Experienced striker William Jebor should lead the Lone Stars attack once again, while we expect Oscar Dorley and Shrewsbury Town’s Nohan Kenneh to team up at the centre of the park.
Meanwhile, Malawi have named an experienced squad for their upcoming qualifying games, including the Mighty Mukuru Wanderers trio of Lawrence Chaziya, midfielder Francisco Madinga and striker Christopher Kumwembe.
Having missed the last two AFCON qualifiers against Ethiopia and Guinea respectively, Gabadinho Mhango has been included in the squad, while skipper John Banda and goalkeeper Brighton Munthali headline the foreign-based players.
Bangwe All Stars man Siazi was involved in both goals against Guinea last time out and should retain his place in the XI, teaming up with Lanjesi Nkhoma and Olson Kanjira in the final third.
Liberia possible starting lineup:
Wynney; Jamal, Sangare, Dweh, Pabai; Kenneh, Dorley; Kamara, Teah, Korvah; Jebor
Malawi possible starting lineup:
Munthali; Sanudi, Chaziya, Chembezi, Mwase; Banda, Aaron, Mapemba; Saizi, Nkhoma, Kanjira
We say: Liberia 1-1 Malawi
Currently on a poor run of results, Liberia and Malawi will be looking pick find their feet and get their qualifying campaign off to a fine start. However, both sides are evenly matched on paper and we predict they will cancel out each other’s efforts.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.