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Flames doused

Rusty Malawi falls to Zambia

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Meck Mwase

Malawi national football team coach Meck Mwase has admitted that he has more home work to do before facing Burkina Faso in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers next month.

The remarks follows Flames’ 1-0 loss to Zambia’s Chipolopolo boys in an international friendly match at National Heroes in Lusaka, Zambia Wednesday.

Featuring majority of the experienced stars, Mwase’s rusty troops could not contain Collins Sikombe who did the damage when he broke the deadlock in the 14th minute of the first half.

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In post-match interview, Mwase admitted that his charges had no control of the game.

“We are looking rusty and we lost control of the game. We could not mark and we need to work on some of the areas. Although, we featured the foreign-based players, it has shown that they need to do more on their own and I will advise the boys to work hard,” Mwase said.

The hosts dominated the game in the first half and scored in 14 minutes through Sikombe who benefited from a long and intelligent pass from Kelvin Kampamba.

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Once again Flames defence was exposed as Sikombe beat Flames goalkeeper Brighton Munthali before slotting the ball into the empty net. The Flames sat too deep and rarely threatened Zambia.

On the other hand, the Zambians executed their game plan well in the first half, forcing the Flames to make back passes as Chipolopolo boys closed spaces for them to move forward.

Strikers Gabadinho Mhango and Richard Mbulu provided very little threat in the first half whereas Yamikani Chester was a lone ranger in first stanza.

After 33 minutes, Munthali was forced to make a save denying Emmanuel Chabula at the near post before defender Chembezi Dennis made a timely block to deny Chabula again on the edge of the box.

It was a first half which belonged to Zambia as the Flames registered no shot on target. After recess, there was a much-improved performance from the Flames as Mwase made a triple substitution bringing in Chimwemwe Idana, Peter Cholopi and Chikoti Chirwa for Chimango Kaira, Gerald Phiri Junior and Chembezi.

In search for an equaliser, Mwase also brought in Chawanangwa Kaonga and Schumacher Kuwali for Chester and Mbulu. Kaonga almost made an instant impact when his double kick hit the cross bar. Mhango also came close to finding the equaliser after he chipped over substitute goalkeeper Jackson Kakutha but Dominic Chanda made a timely goal line clearance.

After the game, Zambia coach Milutin Sredojevic also said he had homework before facing Botswana in the Afcon qualifiers.

“The most important for us was that we won the game but I am not satisfied with the way we created chances. We have to look at the critical areas and we will improve in the next game,” he said.

Line ups: Malawi: Munthali, Stanely Sanudi, Chembezi, Charles Petro, Precious Sambani, Chimango Kaira, John Banda, Gerald Phiri Junior, Chester, Mbulu, Mhango

Zambia: Sebastian Mwange, Kondwani Chiboni, Zachalia Chilongoshi, Luka Banda, Benson Sakala, Kelvin Kapumbu, Leonard Mulenga, Chaniza Zulu, Sikombe, Kelvin Kampamba, Chabula.

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