Malawi national team , the Flames, made up for getting knocked out of 2015 Cosafa Cup when on Friday won the battle against their neighbours’ Zambia by edging them 1-0 in the consolation Plate final worth K2.6 million at Royal Bafokeng Sports Stadium in Rustenburg.
Mozambique based striker Zicco Mkanda making his first start at the Cosafa Cup in the Plate Final scored the vital goal after a Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene made a silly blunder in the 60th minute and handed Flames the COSAFA Plate trophy.
Mweene received a back pass from defender Christopher Munthali but his effort to dribble oncoming Mkanda failed, resulting in the ball crossing the line for the only goal of the match.
The Plate tournament was designed for losers in the quarter finals of the prime competition.
From the word go, the Flames were a marvel to watch as they dominated the proceedings of the match, especially on the middle of the park where Chimango Kayira and John Banda outplayed the Chipolopolo boys.
In defence, the Flames also formed a concrete wall, which was too hard for the Chipolopolo boys to penetrate through.
The Flames nearly scored the second goal when Gerald Phiri’s long range effort rolling across the face of goal with Mweene’s way off pace in goal.
But the Chipolopolo boys had a near breakthrough when their striker whipped in a thunderbolt that grazed the outside of the upright for Malawi to sigh with relief.
The two sides continued sizing each other up and Charles Swini, who manned the posts in place of Mc Donald Harawa denied Zambia a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Flames captain Lucky Malata who was having a tough day at the office got himself booked twice before shown a red card for an agriculture tackle on an opponent.
The red card forced coach Young Chimodzi to substitute Robin Ngalande for Bashir Maunde to tighten his defence.
A sigh of relief was restored back on the Flames bench when a Chipolopolo midfielder Donashano Malama was also shown the door in the 75th minute after a second bookable offence for kicking Frank Banda on the face.
Zambia also brought in fresh legs and they continued fighting their way into the game but their strikers skied too many balls towards the end of the game.
In the end it was the Flames who walked away the happier side with at least a trophy to show for their outing.
Friday’s result was the first ever victory and sweet revenge for Malawi who suffered a 2-nil defeat at the hands of Zambia in an international friendly match in Lusaka prior to the COSAFA.
Malawi crashed out of the competition in dramatic fashion after giving away a 2-1 lead in the quarterfinals against Mozambique to lose 3-5 in penalty shootouts.
The 2015 COSAFA tournament closes Saturday, with Namibia taking on Mozambique in the final.
Malawi XI: Harawa, Lanjesi, Fodya, Malata, Mkanda, Banda, Kumwenda, Kayira, Mzava, Mhone, Phiri.
Zambia XI: Mweene, Nkausu, Munthali, Mbola, Malama, Mukuka, Mtonga, Katema, Mwanza, Mukuka, Ndhlovu.
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