Malawi Under-20 football side failed to utilize home ground advantage when they were held 0-0 by visiting Swaziland Under-20 in an Africa Cup of Nations Under-20 first leg encounter played before a small crowd at Bingu National Stadium on Saturday, March 31 2018.
The junior Flames were themselves to blame for not punishing the visitors, having dominated both halves and created numerous scoring opportunities.
However, lack of the final touch coupled with excellent goalkeeping from Swazi goalkeeper Simelane Lwethu denied them the much needed victory.
Wonder-boy Peter Banda was the architect of most of the junior Flames attacks but he too found Lwethu a hard nut to crack.
While the Swaziland goalkeeper was amongst the busiest customers on the field of play, his counterpart Charles Thom had an easy afternoon, making just one crucial save throughout the match.
Coach for the Malawi U-20 Meke Mwase lamented the missed opportunities but was quick to point out that the race was still on.
“We did everything to win this game but sometimes you need luck to win a game of football and we did not have that luck. But the battle is still on and anything can happen in the second leg,” said Mwase.
Swaziland U-20 coach Dumsani Makhanya—a former Swaziland national team defender— praised his young charges for sticking to their game plan.
“I am very satisfied with the result. We knew Malawi would come hard on us and our plan was to frustrate them, which is exactly what the boys did. We will go back on the drawing board and plan for the return leg,” said Makhanya.
Malawi will travel to Swaziland for the return encounter in two weeks time. The winner of this two-legged tie will face Angola in the second round.
Malawi last contested in the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in 2013. The Junior Flames reached the finals of the competition in 1999.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :