Malawi boss: We are treated like second-class citizens


Malawi head coach Mario Marinica has slammed the Africa Cup of Nations organisers for treating smaller teams at the tournament "like second-class citizens".  

The Flames exited the tournament on Tuesday night after Morocco secured a 2-1 win over them, with Youssef En-Nesyri and Achraf Hakimi's strikes proving the difference in the round of 16 clash.  

Prior to the defeat, however, Marinica took the opportunity to vent during a pre-match press conference, saying that the so-called smaller nations at Afcon are treated differently.  

Scroll through the gallery above to see Malawi and Morocco in action on Tuesday

The 57-year-old claimed his side have had to do their own laundry at the Hotel Valle de Bana and "hang it on bushes to dry", while there have also been issues with the food provided, according to the Daily Mail. 

When asked for his thoughts on the situation, the head coach launched a scathing attack on the African competition's organisers, seemingly accusing them of an implicit bias towards the "smaller" teams at the tournament. 

"You wouldn't see Sadio Mane washing his own underpants and hanging them on a bush to dry," Marinica told ESPN. 

"Gambia have the same problem, and there are different standards here, teams are being treated differently. 

"We talk about inclusion, we want to have minnows, small teams doing fantastic things, but when it comes to the latter stages, people don't fancy us playing against Cape Verde and not Senegal playing Morocco [for example]. 

"Certain questions have to be asked; why are these things happening to us, why only to the smaller teams, why only to Comoros, Gambia, us?

Read: Motsepe addresses Afcon tragedy

"I've asked my fellow colleagues and team leaders to lodge a formal complaint.

"I complained to the managers of the estate, and at the current [hotel] we struggled for three days before things were sorted out. 

"I couldn't have milk for coffee, they said the milk was finished until tomorrow.

"We are treated like second-class citizens, but if you're a hotel manager and you see this happening, you take charge, you can't allow it in this day and age, at this level of competition."

Malawi midfielder John Banda has since echoed his manager's sentiments.

"Our clothes haven't been washed, it's true, and we're facing some problems. It's unfortunate that we're being taken as underdogs," he said, per ESPN.

"As Africa, we need to be treated equally, the same as Senegal, Nigeria, all equally. This is a competition, no teams are guaranteed they will win it, and we all need equal treatment and fairness."

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