Malawi national football team’s promising journey in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup finally came to an abrupt end when they went down 2-0 to Uganda’s Cranes in Addis Ababa Monday.
Uganda scored two early goals on either side of the half to end Flames’ dream of reaching the semifinals.
Flames coach Ernest Mtawali named his strongest line-up at the tournament which saw his charges beating Sudan 2-0 and Djibouti 3-0. Striker Shumacher Kuwali was recalled to the team after serving a one-game suspension.
However, the Flames were torn apart in the sixth minute when striker Faroouk Miya capitalised on defensive blunder to beat advancing Simplex Nthala with a free header.
Flames central defenders Miracle Gabeya and John Lanjesi left Miya unmarked while Nthala failed to leave his line in time to cut the cross.
At the start of the second half, Ceaser Okhuti secured full points for the Cranes when he beat Nthala on the near post.
Mtawali, in an attempt to snatch the game from Cranes’ jaw, pulled out Kuwali, Gerald Papa Phiri and Gabeya for Isaac Kaliyati, Nelson Kangunje and Chawanangwa Kawonga.
The Flames could have narrowed the margin in the 76th minute but Christopher John Banda’s shot saw Uganda keeper producing a reflex save.
Uganda coach speaking to the media after the win said they planned to score early goals to disturb Malawi.
“We knew that if we score early goals we will go all the way to win the match,” he said.
Mtawali admitted that the early goals disturbed their game plan.
“Anyway, it was important to take part in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup as we prepare for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers,” he said.
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