Malawi scores late to draw Nigeria in World Cup qualifier

The Flames on Saturday drew one all against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a tightly fought 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifying encounter played at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

The Nigerians scored in the 90th minute through Ike Uche while the Flames equalized three minutes into the injury time through late substitute Christopher John Banda who plies his club football at Lilongwe-based Blue Eagles.

It was a good result for the West Africans as their coach, Stephen Keshi indicated on arrival in Malawi a draw would be a desirable result considering that they would be playing away.

They beat Namibia last week and went to Blantyre with three points and with the draw on Saturday; they now lead the group with four points.

The Flames had an upper hand throughout the game winning more corners than their opponents who only had three in the entire game.

Robin Ngalande of Spanish club Athletic Madrid was a thorn in the Nigerians fresh, hitting the post in one of his attempts while Chimango Kayira missed a sitter with only Vincent Enyeama in goals to beat.

Stylish Joseph Kamwendo messed several Malawi chances as he misplaced passes uselessly while goalkeeper Simplex Nthala’s agility in goals kept the probing Nigerian striking force at bay.

The introduction of Robert ‘Baggio’ Ng’ambi in place of tired Ngalande breathed new life into the Flames attacking formation while another substitute Chiukepo Msowoya also displayed flashes of brilliance which could have the game for the Flames.

Head coach for Malawi, Kinnah Phiri, who spent the entire game time standing, must be an extremely worried man as impatience continues to mount among soccer pundits and fans alike over lack of results.

Malawi, who have two points after also amassing one point from a draw against Kenyan Harambee Stars, now have an uphill battle to ensure qualification as they will have to play away in Nigeria and Namibia and host the Namibians and Kenya.

The only hope is that Namibia either beat Kenya in Nairobi or hold the Harambee Stars on Saturday.

Malawi line up: Simplex Nthala, Foster Namwela, Moses Chavula, Limbikani Mzava, James Sangala, Dave Banda, Joseph Kamwendo, Robin Ngalande (John Banda), Chimango Kaira (Robert Ng’ambi), Russel Mwafulirwa (Chiukepo Msowoya).

Flames star Dave Banda battling the ball with Nigerian player. Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times
Time for fair play greetings by officials led by Sports Minister Enock Chihana
Supporters of Malawi
Flames cerebrating a goal. Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

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