The Malawi National Football Team, Flames have been booted out of the 2022 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup following a one-all stalemate against Youthful Eswatini National Football Team.
The Flame’s hope of making it to the quarterfinals of the tournament was ruined in the additional minute as Sabelo Ndzinisa cancelled Muyaba’s 46th-minute opener.
With all mission of grabbing maximum points to keep the hope of quarterfinals alive, Flames Head of Technical Panel made five changes from the team that stumbled against Lesotho in their opening game.
Nyasa Big Bullets blossoming goalkeeper Clever Nkungula started in goals ahead of Civo’s Ernest Kakhobwe.
Mafco’s skipper, Paul Ndhlovu and Kelvin Kadzinje also got in first XL replacing Blue Eagles’ Sankhani Mkandawire and Bullets’ Blessings Mpokela who were rested.
Impressive Simba FC attacking midfielder Peter Banda and Blue Eagles Micium Mhone are also starting this afternoon.
Right back Stanley Sanudi, left back Precious Sambani, Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Myaba and John CJ Banda are the only ones maintained from the XI that started against Lesotho.
Flames started the game on a high note as they were pushing for an early opener and there was a penalty appeal in the 2nd minute when Gabadinho Mhango seemed to have pulled down in the penalty area by Bonginkosi Mkwanazi after a good exchange of passes with Peter Banda but the referee looked away.
In the 6th minute Flames came with another attack, Precious Sambani and Peter Banda exchanged neat passes on the left and Sambani sent a decent cross inside but Eswatini goalkeeper Sandanezwe left his line to collect the ball.
Malawi had a chance to use the setpiece after failing to break Eswatini’s we’ll structured defence as Gaba won a free-kick just outside the penalty area in the 18th minute. Mhango blasted his shot over the bar.
In the 37th minute, Clever Mkungula was called into action to save Mabelesa’s free header from close range.
Just a minute before the break, Micium Mhone broke through the right flank before sending a beautiful pass to Mhango who later laid off his pass to John Banda who misses the target with just inches.
Marinica made double changes at halftime by taking out Gabadinho Mhango and Micium Mhone and replacing them with Stain Davie and Yamikani Chester respectively.
Within the first minute of the second half, Khuda Muyaba broke his goal drought when he capitalised on Eswatini’s miscommunication at the back between goalkeeper Nsandanezwe and his defender Peter Diamin to put Malawi in front.
Peter Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Stain Davie, Khudah Muyaba were spitting fire, attacking wave after wave searching for the second goal to settle but Eswatini were very organised at the back cutting all the possible networks that would give Flames the second strike.
In the 67th Eswatini almost grabbed an equaliser there after a blunder in defence allowed Fanelo Mamba to pounce on a loose ball but his shot went off target. He got better of Kelvin Kadzinje and Paul Ndhlobvu before firing his shot wide.
Eswatini’s manager, Dominic Kunene made changes by introducing Manyisa, Gamedze, Owa Matse, Mkhotifo for Fanelo Mamba, Diamini, Sitisi Sam Matse, Philan Mthambo.
They started upping their game attacking from both flanks but Flames goalkeeper, Clever Mkungula was handling the pressure.
Flames nearly extended their lead when Peter Banda and Chimwemwe Idana combined on the left flank before the Simba’s star seeing his first-time volley parred away by goalkeeper from the tight angle.
A tactical change came from Mario Marinica as he pulled out Yamikani Chester who came as a second half substitute for Chikoti Chirwa to harbor his defence. Peter Banda and the scorer, Khuda Muyaba were all subbed off for Chiukepo Msowoya and Schumacker Kuwali in the 85th minute.
Sitting under pressure, Flames sat back and invited pressure from the opponent and they eventually conceded a penalty in the 11th hour.
John Banda seemed to have pushed the substitute, Mbabane Swallows FC star, Leon Manyisa i the penalty area.
The 30-year-old, Sabele Ndzanisa who plays for Mbababe Highlanders took the penalty to equalise the state and Clever Mkungula dived in the right direction but the poor and the pace of the shot was too much for the you man.
In the post-match interviews, Flames Coach who replaced the fired Mwase attributed the defeat to poor officiation.
The Romanian said, “That’s not the way to win the match. There was cheating. In Africa, there is no fair play. You have a bunch of cheaters. That’s why no African referees officiates World Cup finals because you are very best at cheating. The first assistant referee says it’s a giving but the referee insisted that it was a penalty. We played well, we missed chances but the referee ruined our game. There was cheating.
“We played better than in the previous match, we knew that it would be a difficult game, and we planned well. We had our chances but the referee ruined the game.”
Dominic Kunene, Head Coach for Eswatini was happy with the result.
“When you talk of a penalty, it’s a sign of pressure. We piled pressure at the end of the game that’s why we got the penalty. In the second half, we made several touches in our half that’s why we conceded the goal. Am happy with the point from the best.”
Flames are winless in their first two games and their hopes of quarterfinals have been diminished. They will play their last game against Mauritius on Sunday just to honour the fixture.
As for Eswatini, the draw means a lot as they have increased their chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals of the 2022 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup.
Next up is Mauritius taking on Lesotho another group B match.