Malawi’s Flames on Saturday disappointed thousands of home fans including the country’s First Gentleman Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, when they went crashing 1-0 (3-0 on aggregate) against visiting Ghana’s Black Stars in a final qualifying leg for South Africa 2013
Africa Cup of Nations at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
The Flames needed to beat Ghana by at least 3-0 to cancel out the 2-0 first leg defeat in Accra and progress to the finals but they made things difficult for themselves by conceding just three minutes into the game.
Midfielder Afriyea Acquah scored the lone goal with a simple but tricky strike after corner kick.
The Flames tried to push forward in numbers to salvage an equalizer but the Ghana defence was not in any mood to let them take a shot at goal.
Efforts by embattled coach Kinnah Phiri to bring in South African based professional Atusaye Nyondo for upcoming Gabadin Mhango, Robin Ngalande for injured Essau Kanyenda and Chiukepo Msowoya for defender Steve Chagoma in the second half yielded nothing as the Flames failed to score even a goal in a two-legged qualifier.
Irate young fans organized themselves towards the end of the game and started singing: Kinnah Achoke, Tipeze wina.
But the coach was adamant during a post-match news conference, when he insisted he would not resign and accused the youngsters of lacking patriotism.
He said he was building a team for the future and described the players’ performance against the highly rated Ghanaians as good.
“Ghana is a world class team. They were at the recent World Cup finals in South Africa and what I can say is that we have lost to a better team.”
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah and his star striker Asamoah Gyan said during the new conference that they had won the hard way. They praised the Flames for putting up a spirited performance in both legs.
Kinnah on foreign journalist
During the media conference, the Flames’ coach surprised the audience, when he failed to take a simple question from a Ghanaian television journalist, who had asked him if he was going to resign, having promised earlier on that his Flames would beat Ghana 3-0.
“Where are you from,” asked the Malawi coach.
“If you are not a Malawian, why are you asking me to resign? …I’m not resigning,” said Kinnah amid rising tempers.
Kinnah also attacked the young fans, who were baying for his head, saying he has never seen such a thing in the world:.
“If they are Lilongwe supporters, they should know that Ghana is not an ordinary
team. They should support their team even if we are losing,” said Kinnah.