By Peter Kanjere:
While other countries are celebrating their national football teams’ qualification to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Egypt, Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President, Walter Nyamilandu, has patted the Flames on the back for finishing the qualifiers without conceding at home.
Nyamilandu tweeted on the Flames after they drew 0-0 against Morocco at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Friday in an academic Group B qualifying match.
In another game for the group, Cameroon thumped Comoros Islands 3-0 to finish second and join the Atlas Lions at the finals.
“We defied the odds against Morocco and showed that the youthful Flames are learning very fast. This mission was not in vain as we have come out stronger ready for the next qualifiers. We can build on our unbeaten home record where we have conceded no goal,” Nyamilandu posted on his Twitter handle @ wnmanda.
Against Morocco, the Flames featured Ernest Kakhobwe, John Lanjesi, Peter Cholopi, Stanley Sanudi, Gomezgani Chirwa, Gerald Phiri Junior, Chikoti Chirwa, John Banda, Yamikani Chester, Gabadinho Mhango and Khuda Muyaba—none of which are young.
In reply to Nyamilandu’s tweet, Mamba@black said: “We just need to take draws to [sic] wins.”
Another follower Ada Kamanga replied: “Home form has never been a problem. Vuto has always been our away form. And it seems RVG [Flames Coach Ronny van Geneugden] walephera to overturn our away form, which clearly means palibe chomwe akupangapo.”
In another comment, Laziodinho wrote: “Qualifiers is our version of playing in the Afcon…don’t expect more.”
Laurent said: “For your own information, Burundi is going to Afcon, so is Uganda… as you continue building your Barcelona take note of this.”
Ahead of the qualifiers, Nyamilandu said RVG had transformed the team as it was playing passing football like Spanish La Liga kings, Barcelona, and that the coach was tasked with qualifying for the Afcon finals.
He said the Belgian trainer was not to be judged based on his performance in other competitions such as Cosafa Cup.
Friday’s result saw the Flames finish third in Group B with five points from six games, having beaten Comoros Island 1-0 and drawn 0-0 against Cameroon and Morocco, all at home while losing 3-0 to the Atlas Lions, 2-1 to the islanders and 1-0 to the Indomitable Lions.
Malawi scored twice and conceded six goals in the group which had Morocco and Cameroon qualifying with 11 points each.
In the 2017 Afcon qualifiers, Malawi also finished with five points from six games but scored seven goals and let in 10 whereas in the 2015 race, the Flames wound up with seven points after managing two wins, scoring five goals and conceding nine.
Malawi under-23 national football team also bowed out of its version of the Afcon qualifiers 2-0 on aggregate after losing 1-0 to Zambia in Lusaka on Sunday.
Elsewhere, there are celebrations in Tanzania, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Namibia after they joined the heavyweights in qualifying for the 2019 Afcon finals.
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