Though we had been highly expecting the Flames to give us a win in the opening match of this year’s Cosafa Cup in Namibia on Sunday after the bitter disappointment the lads have subjected us in both the World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the 3-0 win did not inspire much joy in many fans.
This was so because the Flames were up against an almost Under-20 Angolan side, which is reportedly rebuilding.
This regional tournament is meant to expose locally based players, joined with those based within the region, in order to expose them more to the international stage.
Malawi has been on a rebuilding exercise for far too long and we don’t seem to be moving forward but what I saw in the youthful Angolan side, whose brilliant goalkeeper is just 15 years old, there is quite a good future in that team.
The Flames completely dominated the rookies but they were not just sharp enough to inflict any more damage. In fact, Angola can pat their lads on the back for conceding just three goals, which to me were almost just chance encounters.
The real flow of attack the Flames had ended up being wasted upfront. The midfield was very good but it was not creative enough to provide the strikers with good balls to break the opponents’ strong defence.
But we can rejoice that at least they have given us a good win and hopefully this will translate into more goals in their next encounter against Mauritius on Tuesday.
The game gave Gabadhinho Mhango chance to shine for the Flames when he claimed his hat-trick to become not only the first Malawi player to net a hat-trick in the Cosafa Cup, but the first Malawian player to get more than one goal in a game.
I loved what the rest of his team mates did by allowing him to take the penalty at the stroke of added time so that he could claim the hat-trick. That’s the commendable team spirit that is needed.
I pray and I implore all of us to spare a kind thought for the team in their next assignments like we always do.
However, there was one blight spot on the good win — that the technical committee used training jerseys that had some players’ jerseys written MALAWI at the back but others not.
This prompted people to go on social media to criticise Fam for lack of attention to certain tiny details that can eventially translate into lack of seriousness on the part of the FA.
At such high profile tournament, glamour is also paramount and jerseys play an important part to it.
However, it was explained that Angola arrived just few hours before kick off and they even failed to attend pre-match meeting as is officially required where they were supposed to declare what colour of uniform they would use.
Angola normally use red jersey just like the Flames and being the home team, Malawi were at liberty to choose the colour of their choice. The Flames, in the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship, accepted to change colours in case the Palancas Negras could use their red if they did not have a substitute.
It was explained that the away green jersey was still at the laundry at the time this was happening and they decided to use the black training jersey. They said they didn’t have adequate time to take the black jerseys to the printers to print Malawi at the back.
Come on, folks. Why send a kit to the laundry at the last minute before the pre-match meeting when you all know that’s where you declare your jersey colours?
It was nice to hear that the Flames, in the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play, gave their opponents a chance to escape more embarrassment for coming late but what is exasperating is that one kit was at the laundry.
Now, is the Flames’ technical panel telling us that they only brought one set of jersey colours of each of the three? What if one is damaged in the middle of the tournament, will they then ask home to send a replacement?
Aren’t the players allowed to exchange jerseys at the end of the matches, especially in the later stages? Are we that poor that we cannot have several sets of each colour of the jerseys?
Haven’t we been told that we have jersey sponsors, who are Puma?
Please, stop embarrassing us like this.
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