Malawi National Football Team’s journey in the Cosafa Cup ended in tears Tuesday as the Flames bowed out of the competition following a 1-1 stalemate with Namibia at Isaac Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth, in South Africa.
The Flames needed a win to keep their Cosafa Cup semifinal dream alive but it went up in smoke with the draw after Senegal beat Zimbabwe 2-1 in another match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
This means leaders Namibia, Senegal and Mozambique will be fighting for the two slots in Group B heading into final group matches Wednesday.
Following the draw, the Flames are fourth with two points from three matches, five points behind leaders Namibia.
Senegal are second with six points whereas Mozambique have four points.
Both Malawi and Zimbabwe have been eliminated from the Cosafa Cup after comical displays.
The Flames will face Senegal in a ceremonial match for Malawi and an important fixture for the Terranga Lions, who also need points to be sure of qualifying for the semifinals.
Interestingly, Malawi and Zimbabwe were the only teams that have qualified for Afcon finals, who took part in this year’s Cosafa Cup.
Micium Mhone came off the bench to score the equaliser in the 74th minute after Elmo Kambindu had given the Brave Warriors a lead in the 53rd minute.
However, it was too little, too late for the Flames as they failed to get maximum points.
Mhone was named man-of-the-match despite playing the last 45 minutes of the game.
Flames coach Meck Mwase made five changes to the squad that lost 2-0 to Mozambique on Sunday.
TNM Super League leading goal-scorer Maxwell Phodo and defender Nickson Mwase made their Flames debut.
Tawonga Chimodzi and Ndaziona Chatsalira were handed rare starts as Chikoti Chirwa was suspended due to two yellow cards whereas Rafiq Namwera was relegated to the bench alongside Vitumbiko Kumwenda.
William Thole replaced first choice goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe. Chimodzi proved his worth with solid displays.
Dejected Mwase said it was an improved performance from the players.
“It was unfortunate that we could not win the match,” he said.
Warriors coach Bobby Samaria was pleased with the performance of the team.
Two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals of the Cosafa Cup.
The Flames last reached the Cosafa Cup semifinals in 2003 and went on to reach the final but lost to Zimbabwe.
Flames: Thole, Sanudi, Nickson Mwase, Dennis Chembezi, Mark Fodya, Tawonga Chimodzi, Chimwemwe Idana, Schumacher Kuwali, Ndaziona Chatsalira, Maxwell Phodo, Khuda Muyaba.
Namibia: Kazapua, Gebhardt, Petrus, Hambira, Omseb, Stephanus, Kambindu, Iimondi, Katjiteo, Handura, Kamberipa