The Taifas of Tanzania once again came out blazing with all 11 cylinders blazing and in the end doused the fire styled the Flames of Malawi.
It was a thrilling international friendly neighbourly match between the former British protectorate, Malawi and the Germany colony, Tanzania – and as the case has always been when the two countries meet in a football debacle – the former got whacked 2 – 0 on the bang.
Malawi, who travelled to Tanzania without the head coach Meck Mwase and his first deputy, Lovemore Fazili who both tested positive to Coronavirus and went into quarantine started the game on a high note and played beautiful ticka-tacka football in the opening three-quarters of an hour and appeared intentional and ready to scorch the hosts to dusty dark ashes.
But Flames being Flames, depleted and tactless as they were, it never meant to be.
On a positive note, Malawi were solid in the first half and managed to hold the Tanzanians in the first 45 minutes to a barren draw only to concede two goals in the second-half in an international thrilling friendly encounter played on Sunday at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in the Tanzania capital, Dar es Salaam.
With the absence of Mwase and Fazili, the team was led by Flames second assistant coach, Bob Mpinganjira.
The Flames who matched the Taifa Stars in the first half had Brighton Munthali in goals and A debut to Scotland based left back, Kieran Ngwenya.
At first, it was difficult for British-born Malawian defender, Ngwenya to play for Malawi as he was holding British citizenship but having been cleared, assistant coach Bob Mpinganjira threw him straight into the starting XI with Silver Strikers goalkeeper Brighton Munthali starting between the sticks protected by defenders Stanley Sanudi and Dennis Chembezi.
Stanely Sanudi, who captained the team in the absence of John Banda and Limbikani Mzava, partnered Dennis Chembezi and Charles Petro at the back. Other players, who also featured during the game include, diminituve powerhouse striker, Gabadihno Mhango and Peter Banda.
Richard Mbulu also started in the first eleven as well as Rafiq Namwera and Chimwemwe Idana.
‘Missing the chances’
The Flames found a chance on the edge of the box, when Idana was tricked down but Mhango’s free kick went over the crossbar.
Despite loosing the game, the Flames showed determination, but the home team utilised their chances and took the game home comfortably with a two goal lead.
The second goal for the home team was scored through a well taken free kick on the edge of the box and that appeared to have killed off the Flames confidence.
Simba SC striker John Bocco was on target as Tanzania needed an improved second-half display to sink Malawi 2-0 in an international friendly at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Sunday.
After a poor show in the first half, which was dominated by the visitors, Bocco came through for Taifa Stars after he scored in the 69th minute, and substitute Israel Mwenda made it 2-0 from a beautifully taken free-kick in the 75th minute to earn coach Kim Poulsen his second win since taking over from Burundian coach, Etienne Ndayiragije.
The 62-year-old tactician had already overseen three matches heading into the clash against the Flames, a friendly against Kenya where he lost 2-1 before falling by a solitary goal away to Equatorial Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and his only win, by a solitary goal as well, came at home over Libya in the aforementioned competition.
Missing the services of captain Mbwana Samatta, who plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey on loan from Aston Villa, and Simon Msuva, who turns out for Wydad Casablanca of Morroco for various reasons, the Danish coach decided to give Simba striker Bocco the armband and also the task to lead the attacking line.
Bocco, who has enjoyed a good run of results with Mainland Premier League champions since returning from injury was partnered alongside Yusuf Mhilu of Kagera Sugar while Simba goalkeeper Aishi Manula was handed a start ahead of veteran Juma Kaseja of Kagera Sugar and Metacha Mnata of Yanga SC.
It was Taifa Stars who started the game on the front foot with Salum Abubakar getting the first chance in the 5th minute but after beating Chembezi to the through ball, he took time to react in front of goal, and keeper Munthali came off his line to clear the danger.
The second chance for Taifa Stars came in the 10th minute when Mudathir Yahya combined well with Feisal Salum and Nickson Kibabage but this was after the latter laid a killer pass to Bocco, and the towering striker unleashed a weak effort, which went inches wide.
‘Good run against Flames’
Malawi then started to come into the game and in the 20th minute as Peter Banda got their first chance to take the lead after being set up by Richard Mbulu but the Moldova-based winger’s shot kissed the bar.
In the 39th minute, Banda whipped in a ball from the left wing which Manula punched for the visitors’ first corner of the game but from the resultant corner taken by Gabadinho Mhango, the ball was gathered by Manula, who jumped the highest to calm the danger.
Mbulu was once again set through by Banda in the 42nd minute as the Flames continued to raid the home nation but his effort landed in the hands of Manula.
The two teams went into the break tied at 0-0 but Malawi should feel undone as the wasted two open chances through Mhango and Mbulu.
In the 56th, the Flames got another free-kick from the edge of the box as Chimwemwe Idana was fouled by Shomari Kapombe but the resultant effort from the hardworking Mhango went over the bar.
Kapombe was later replaced by Patrick Mwenda after the foul on Idana as Taifa Stars tried to change their style of play to try and contain the marauding Flames’ front two while Mpinganjira made his first substitution by bringing in Yamikani Chester for Khuda Muyaba.
In the 69th minute, Bocco rose the highest to head Tanzania ahead after a cross from Salum, and six minutes later they were 2-0 up after Mwendwa, who came on for Nyoni, scored through a brilliant free-kick which beat the wall and keeper Munthali into the net.
Despite Malawi making a double change in the 82nd minute which saw Gabadinho Mhango and Rafiq Namwera pave way for Tawonga Chimodzi and Vincent Nyangulu, Taifa Stars stayed firm at the back to keep the scoreline intact and protect their good run against the Flames at Mkapa Stadium.
Tanzania has a good run against their neighbours, Malawi having beaten them in all competitions in recent history.
The Flames, who are expected back in the country on Monday, missed some key players during the game like Gerald Phiri Jnr, Limbikani Mzava and John Banda.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :