Malawi National Team, “Flames” Saturday came from behind to hold minnows, Lesotho to 1-1 draw in an international friendly match played at Bingu National Stadium in Area 48, Lilongwe.
Flames have played four away international friendlies in Kenya, Morocco (twice) and Tanzania have recored three draws and a win against Togo.
Malawi’s coach Ron Van Genengden injected six foreign based players to his starting lineup which struggled to combine well particularly in the first half.
The home side launched first on slot in the third minute of the game through right back Gomezgani Chirwa, whose inviting cross was cut out in the air by Lesotho keeper, Mphuthi Likano.
Lesotho’s enterprising pint sized winger Khutlang Tumelo who was a delight to watch broke through and set Masabi Nkhoto in the 13th minute but he wasted the chance.
Malawi was forced to make an early substitution when Chirwa got injured four minutes later and was replaced by Stanley Sanudi.
Flame’s striker, Atusaye Nyondo could have opened the score sheet in the 23rd minute but he failed to chest control the ball in front of Lesotho keeper, Likano.
Lesotho’s winger Tumelo outpaced Flame’s captain Limbikani Mzava who was struggling a bit in defence but his shot went over the bar in the 26th minute.
Two minutes later Tumelo was at it again managed to dribbled past Mzava and his hard and low drive was parried by Flame’s goalie, Brighton Munthali.
Lesotho shocked home fans at the dot of half time when they took a lead through Tseka Kopano tapping from a corner kick due to defensive lapse by Malawi.
The visitors walk to to dressing room at the interval with a smile as they managed to hit Flame’s empty net once.
Second half saw Malawi introducing attacking left winger Dalitso Sailesi for Schumacker Kuwali and Flame’s attacking pattern completely changed for the better.
Flame’s central midfielder, Chikoti Chirwa levelled the scores in the 52nd minute when he connected home Gerald Phiri’s corner kick.
Malawi pushed in Chiukepo Msowoya for Robin Ngalande in the 63rd minute to which most fans thought Ngalande could have being mantained to pattern him.
Sailesi could have increased the Flame’s lead in the 70th minute when his attempt at goal was parried by Lesotho Keeper Likano.
Leostho’s Kapano free kick nearly eluded Flame’s custodian in the 76th minute but was alert and saved it.
The remaining minutes both teams pushed forward at times in search for a winner but they failed to get one.
” Look Malawi played our game in the second half. The first there were too many back passes and we were failing to attack,” Former Football Administrator, Gowa Banda observed.
He said the technical panel need to work with the players extensively before the Morocco game in March, 2018.
The line ups were as follows:
3. Yamikani Fodya
14. Limbikani Mzava
4. Dennis Chembezi
12. Gomezgan Chirwa ( 17′ Stanley Sanudi)
15. Robert Ng’ambi
10. Gerald Phiri Jnr
8. Schumacher Kuwali ( 45′ Dalitso Sailesi)
11. Robin Ngalande ( 63′ Chiukepo Msowoya)
18. Atusaye Nyondo ( 80′ Chawanangwa Kaonga)
1. Mphuthi Likano
2. Moremoholo Mafa
20. Mokhechle Thapeto ( 57′ Thaba Ntso Jane)
6. Tseka Kopano
5. Makepe Kasia
11. Koetle Tsoanelo
7. Kalake Hlompho (57′ Khetsekile Sam)
3. Mohapi Thabisa
17. Masabi Nkoto (57′ Rabi Thabang)
18. Khutlang Tumelo (78′ Mokhahlane Ralekoti)
10. Matoso Luciano
Referee- Ishmael Chizinga
First Assistant Referee- Clemence Kanduku
Second Assistant Referee- Innocent Kaundula
Fourth Official- Patrick Ngoleka
Assessor- Simon Jovinala
Coordinator- Maxwell Mtonga.