Saturday May 23, 2020. 12:00
Malawian attacker Gerald Phiri Jr believes “nothing is impossible” and is dreaming of leading the Flames to World Cup qualification for Qatar 2022.
The 26-year-old scored the only goal of Malawi’s 1-0 aggregate win over Botswana in the first round of qualifiers for the next World Cup, with the teams’ reward a place in a second-round group which features Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Malawi.
Ending top of such a challenging foursome to advance into the final stage of qualifying is a tall order for Malawi, but Phiri is up for the challenge.
“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 are young, so we have to be patient and mature fully.”
On scoring the decisive goal against the Zebras – a late spot kick in the return leg of the tie at home in Blantyre – Phiri recalls: “It was a particularly intense moment: a penalty awarded in the 80th minute with the match tied.
“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.”
He added, “I don’t know if I’ve definitely made a name for myself with that goal, but what interests me is that Malawi are making a name for ourselves on the world stage. And if that goal can contribute to that, then so much the better.”