Malawi national team new coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) has said he was pretty impressed with the dominant performance of the Flames during a goalless draw against Kenya’s Harambe Stars at Machako Country Stadium.
The Belgian tactician said his charges produced good performance but there is still room for improvement.
“I am very proud of the performance of the team,” said van Geneugden.
“Our average players age was younger than Kenya. They [Harambe Stars] were strong and powerful,” he pointed out.
“We dominated against a very strong Kenyan team. We tried to play our passing game but it was difficult because of the pitch and also the physical approach of the Kenya team,” said the Belgian tactician who signed a three-year deal with the Football Association Malawi (FAM).
“I think our mentality was strong but Kenya played a lot of high balls which interfered with our game-plan. I told my boys to concentrate in good football and that’s why we moved closer in the second half. All in all, the team is making progress ahead of Chan 2018 competition,” said the expatriate coach.
Malawi are ranked at position 100 in the Fifa rankings, 22 places behind Kenya.
Van Geneugden said he was upbeat that his charges are up for the challenge for Sunday’s 2018 Championship of African Nations (Chan) preliminary first leg against Madagascar away in Antananarivo, which will be his first competitive match in charge.
RVG tried a new playing system with a lone striker.
The Flames who were without the likely starter Peter Wadabwa, who was ruled out due groin injury, started with Muhammad Sulumba upfront. The Nyasa Big Bullets striker was too shy on goal having registered no attempts on goal in the first 40 minutes of the game.
However, things were different in the last half of the match as the Belgian expatriate made several changes in search for a goal but the Harambe Stars were too strong at the back.
The home team would have scored few minutes towards the end of regulation time only for a deflection that spooned the ball out for a corner.
While the Flames used the match to prepare for the upcoming CHAN assignment, the Harambe Stars led by their new Coach Stanley Okumbi are trying to build a new team for the upcoming competitions in the next few years.
Malawi line up:
1 Ernest Kakhobwe
7 Lucky Malata
5 John Kintu Lanjesi
2 Stanley Sanudi
3 Francis Mlimbika
18 Simeon Singa
12 Chimango Kayira
99 Yamikani Chester
11 Kelvin Hanganda
6 Davi Banda
9 Muhammad Sulumba