By Malawi Exclusive
If there will be 40 000 people in the stadium, President Lazurus McCarthy Chakwera will be one of them.
President Chakwera will join scores of football enthusiast who will watch the Malawi National Football team in action against Ethiopia in an African Cup of Nation qualifiers at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday.
It has taken 27 years for a sitting Head of State to watch the Flames in a competitive match.
The last time dates back to 16 July 1995 when President Bakili Muluzi watched the Flames battling out with Cameroon. Leaders have come and gone but no one after Muluzi had watched the national team play in a competitive match, if at all they did it was on the sidelines of the 6th July outings.
The Cameroon encounter lives as a game to forget for the former president as the Flames succumbed to a 1-3 defeat in the hands of the Indomitable Lions.
But this is a different era, different atmosphere, different setting and different ambience. Ranked 138 on FIFA ranking, Ethiopia may seem a minnow but last time the two teams met In March the Walia Ibex, as they are popularly known, emphatically defeated the Flames 4-0 in an international friendly in Ethiopia.
But Flame’s currently ranked position 120 on the FIFA rankings will be buoyed by the presence of the first citizen and their impressive exploits at the recent Africa Cup of Nations Finals in Cameroon where they honourably bowed out in the round of 16.
President Chakwera is not new in the sports circles as he was once the Chairperson of the Malawi Sports Council before he joined politics.