Afcon 2021: Malawi feeding off support back home, says Gabadinho Mhango

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Malawi celebrate a goal against ZimbabweMalawi are appearing at the Africa Cup of Nations for a third time

Malawi forward Gabadinho Mhango says the strength of their support back home is driving the team on at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Flames could reach the last 16 for the first ever time if they avoid defeat against Senegal in their Group B clash on Tuesday (16:00 GMT).

"Even though we have a small number of people in the country, they always give us incredible support no matter what," Mhango told BBC Sport Africa.

"It is very important for Malawi, because it is a small country which is far away down in Africa.

"For us to show up and believe in ourselves and be here at the Africa Cup of Nations, when we win one game the whole country celebrates. It is an amazing feeling."

Mhango netted both goals to give Malawi a 2-1 victory over Zimbabwe on Friday, clinching just a second Nations Cup finals win for his country.

The south-east Africans are making their first appearance at the tournament since 2010, and Orlando Pirates player Mhango says it is "incredible" to be taking part in Cameroon.

Malawi fans at their game against ZimbabweMalawi had a small but vocal following against Zimbabwe in Bafoussam

"For the Malawi team to be here is great for every player," he added. "To be part of it is history.

"It was a dream for us, the moment we started the competition, to get here. Each and every player put effort in, so we are all proud to be here.

"To wear the Malawi badge is incredible as a million people in my country want to be here, as part of 28 people in the squad."

Although they are yet to reach the knock-out stages, Mhango has aspirations to go all the way to the final in Yaounde's Olembe Stadium on 6 February.

"We didn't come here just to participate and go back home," he said.

"We came here with the ambition of us winning. Every player has a dream to win the trophy. We can do it as a team because we believe in each other."

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