Malawi national football team once again broke the hearts of the soccer fans after settling for a careless goalless draw against less fancied Mauritius in the Cosafa Castle Cup group A match in South Africa when it was least expected of them but the consolation was a man-of-the-match performance from Daliso Sailesi.
It was a painful result having put up a brave fight with courage, determination and confidence which were missing ingredients the game against Tanzania in which they lost 2-0.
The approach and confidence displayed by the players who were called duty left tongue wagging as they took the game to the islanders.
Malawi missed golden chances just as in the Tanzania game with Nyasa Big Bullets forward Sailesi slowly developing into a flicker of hope for the cold Flames with a five star performance.
Sailesi, who was top contender for man of match award in the Tanzania game only to be outdone by two-goal hero Yahiya Ramadhan, got it right in the Mauritius game.
He huffed and puffed throughout the game and yet his work rate never gave in to fatigue to get the ultimate prize, which typified the visible transformation of the team’s renaissance under the Belgian tactician Ronny Van Geneugden’s arduous project to around the team’s fortunes.
It was also a consolation for the Flames who have been technically booted out of the tournament while they were considered among favourites to go all the way.
With one point sitting at the base of Group A from two games their last game against three time champions Angola is nothing other than a formality as a win would not guarantee them a place in the quarterfinals to face hosts South Africa.
Just as RVG said during the post match interview he was impressed with the performance of the team and at the same time disappointed with the failure to match the performance with the much needed winning result.
The man of the match made Sailesi US$250 (about K200,000) that goes with the award.
But Sailesi has been subject of talk on social media for his choice to turn to vernacular Chichewa in an interview with SuperSport TV after being awarded man-of-the match.
“It doesn’t bother me. I play football am not a talk show host,” he said.
Van Geneugeden commended Sailesi for great performance.
“He is a fine product,” he said.
RVG made four changes to the team that lost to Tanzania.
He maintained Ernest Kakhobwe in goals, John Lanjesi, Dennis Chembezi, Stanley Sanudi, Ian Chinyama in defence while Levison Maganizo, Chikoti Chirwa, Daliso Sailesi, Micium Mhone crammed the midfield with Jabulani Linje and Innocent Bokosi upfront.
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