Malawi Under-20 national team failed to utilise home-ground advantage on Saturday after succumbing to Zambia to a 2-1 loss at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in the crucial final Senegal 2015 Africa Youth Championship.
Zambia outplayed Malawi in the entire first half when they were made comfortable despite playing away from home.
The visitors made their intent clear of victory after scoring in the 13th minute through Lare Bwalya.
The young Chipolopolo Boys cushioned the lead on the half hour mark of the game through Charles Zulu who was a thorn in the Junior Flames flesh especially in the first half.
Malawi got a consolation goal from Silver Strikers’ South Africa-bound youngster Chawanangwa Kawonga from the penalty spot in the 36th minute.
But the goal was all what the hosts could manage as the loss also dented coach Ernest Mtawali’s unbeaten record with the team.
In the second half the hosts reorganised as they managed to contain the pressure after first half pep talk but lack of composure cost Malawi the game.
Striker Dalitso Sailesi failed to rise to the occasion to give the home fans whose spirits were dampened by the first half goals by missing some good chances.
Malawi should also pat the back of goalkeeper Bright Munthali who saved the hosts on dangerous occasions from conceding more goals.
Defender Miracle Gabeya also showed what stuff he is made of when he kept Zambia’s dangerous striking duo of Bwalya and Zulu under tight guard in defence in the second half.
Coach Ernest Mtawali said the result was disappointing because they would be under enormous pressure in the return leg in two weeks time in Zambia.
“All is not lost but it’s going to be tough but the mission is achievable as we have done in the past,” Mtawali said.
His Zambia counterpart Hector Chilombo said they victory had made their plans possible.
“We didn’t come to Malawi to defend. We can to get a positive result and I am happy that we have managed to score goals,” Chilombo said.
Malawi would have a daunting task to turn the tables and progress with the demand for a win of at least 2-0 margin in the return leg.
Watching at the VIP Stand were guests such as Sports Minister Grace Chiumia, principal secretary Justin Saidi and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu.
Malawi squad: 16 Brighton Munthali, 14 Stanley Sanudi (Precious Msosa), 5 Miracle Gabeya, 7 Boston Kabango, 6 Suwedi Limbani, 8 Matias Nyirenda (Ibrahim Sadiki), 9 Isaac Mwale (Khumbo Mwale), 4 Dalitso Sailesi, 17 Isaac Kaliyati, 10 Chawanangwa Kawonga, 11 Ernest Tambe. Coach: Ernest Mtawali.
Zambia squad: 1 Mangani Banda, 3 Peter Mulenga, 4 Boyd Mkandawire, 6 Kelvin Chinyama (Juma Mutale), 7 Patrick Ngoma (Dave Daka), 11 Larry Bwalya (Simon Tembo), 13 Kayawe Kapota, 15 Alex Mwamba, 18 Spencer Sautu, 8 Seith Sakala, 9 Charles Zulu. Coach: Hector ChilomboFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :