Mlatho Mponela returns home empty handed from Mzuzu

In the TNM Super League, Mlatho Mponela Football Club has become the first team this season to leave Mzuzu with no single point after losing to Mzuni FC 1 nil on Saturday and 2-1 to Moyale Barracks on Sunday at Mzuzu Stadium.

Mlatho on the ball
Moyale’s goalkeeper Simeon Harawa was voted man of the match
Mlatho Mponela FC

Mlatho Mponela looked fierce in the first 15 minutes against Moyale Barracks on Sunday. Their powerful free kick in the 14th minute was parried away by goalkeeper Simeon Harawa. A minute later, the visitors came with another dangerous wave of attack but Harawa was again able to deny them an opener.

The soldiers then settled into the game and started making their own meaningful moves towards the visitors’ goal. A beautiful cross from the left hand side found captain Gastin Simkonda whose powerful left footed shot managed to beat goalkeeper Chakonda Majanga. 1 nil to Moyale Barracks.

The two sides fought each other in a quest to change the readings on the scoreboard but it was still 1 nil to the home side as referee Newton Nyirenda blew for recess.

In the second half, Mlatho Mponela looked more organised as they were able to exchange beautiful passes from one player to another in building up attacks.

Just 12 minutes into the second half, Mlatho Mponela’s corner was headed back by a Moyale Barracks defender but overlapping defender for Mlatho Mponela, Eric Kaonga, was in the right position to welcome the rebound with a thunderous shot that beat two Moyale Barracks defenders including the goalkeeper. 1-1.

The soldiers continued piling pressure on the visitors to get a lead. Gastin Simkonda’s powerful volley in the 76th minute was direct at the goalkeeper who blocked it with his knees.

But in the 77th minute, Brown Magaga received a decent pass on the left inside the visitors’ half and in turn floated the ball into the penalty area and Lloyd Njaliwa was well positioned to nod the ball into Mlatho Mponela’s net.

Mlatho Mponela pulled out Patrick Macheso for Redson Nkhoma and Hassan Upindi for Frezer Menyani in the 82nd and 83rd minute respectively but the changes never paid any dividend.

At full time 2-1 it ended in favour of Moyale Barracks.

Moyale’s goalkeeper Simeon Harawa was voted man of the match.

Speaking to Nyasa Times after the match, Mlatho Mponela coach, George Zulu, described the games in Mzuzu as very tough.

“We’ve been unlucky. Finishing has been a problem in both games. We have learnt a lot in the elite league. We hope to do well come second round,” said Zulu.

The winning coach, Collins Mkuna, said he was happy to win the game though there were problems in defence and upfront.

“Our defence was not that solid. Upfront it was only Simkonda ticking. Some of our players are aging and so we need to rope in some new players which you will see in the second round. Today we were forced to play under pressure because our friends came hard on us as they never wanted to lose a second game,” explained Mkuna.

With two games to wrap up the first round, the win takes Moyale to position 9 with 15 points from 13 games while Mlatho Mponela are on position 14 with 11 points from 14 games. They have a single game to finish the second round.

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