Depleted Malawi National Football Team suffered a 2-0 loss to Tanzania in an international friendly at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam Sunday.
Without head coach Meck Mwase and his assistant Lovemore Fazili who tested positive for Covid, Bob Mpinganjira took charge of the team.
Goalkeeper Brighton Munthali was handed a starting place ahead of Ernest Kakhobwe whereas stand-in captain Stanley Sanudi, Charles Petro, Dennis Chembezi and Keiran Ngwenya started at the back.
Rafik Namwera and Chimwemwe Idana started in midfield alongside Peter Banda and Gabadinho Mhango whereas Richard Mbulu and Khuda Muyaba were paired upfront.
But it was a bad day at the office for the Flames as individual errors cost them the match.
After a barren first half, the Flames succumbed to John Bocco and Israel Mwenda second half goals.
Bocco broke the deadlock in the 67th minute after he connected a pass from substitute Dennis Kibu when Namwera gave away the ball on the edge of the box.
Substitute Mwenda scored a beautiful freekick on the edge of the box in the 75th minute. It was another error from Namwera, who fouled the Tanzania player.
Mwenda took it perfectly as the ball hit the frame of the goal-post before landing into the net.
In the second half, Mpinganjira made several changes but the first change was when he brought in Yamikani Chester for Khuda Muyaba.
In the 82nd minute, Mhango and Namwera paved the way for Taonga Chimodzi and Vincent Nyangulu before Munthali and Idana were replaced by Kakhobwe and debutant Vitumbiko Kumwenda, respectively.
However, it was a disappointing afternoon for the Flames who were hoping for a win to boost their morale ahead of the World Cup qualifiers slated for September, October and November this year as well as the Cosafa Cup next month.
The Flames, ranked 115 in the World, also qualified for Africa Cup Nations (Afcon) finals to be staged in Cameroon next year whereas Taifa Stars, who are on position 137, did not make it to the next year’s event.
In post-match reaction, Mpinganjira blamed the loss on fatigue
“Tanzania gave us a good match and we have learnt something from this match. We started it very well in the first half but it was unfortunate that we conceded two goals in the second half,” Mpinganjira said.
Tanzania Coach Kim Poulsen was excited with the win.
“It was good to see my players implementing what I was training them in,” he said.
Malawi missed the services of captain Limbikani Mzava, vice-captain John Banda, Gerald Phiri Junior and Peter Cholopi.
On the other hand, Tanzania were without Turkey-based star Mbwana Samatta despite being included in the squad for the match.