By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Malawi national football team steps onto the Moses Mabhida Stadium turf in Durban, South Africa, with a mission to win the Cosafa Plate for the second time after lifting it in 2015.
The Flames take on South Africa’s Bafana Bafana this evening with the hope of finishing the tournament on a high note.
Both Malawi and South Africa dropped out of contention for the ultimate prize of the main trophy, having exited the competition in the quarterfinal stage.
But the two teams have a chance to redeem their pride with a consolation of the plate which has about K5 million prize money for the winners.
Bafana Bafana have dominated matches against the Flames in recent years but there is hope that the Flames could end the jinx.
On their way to the Plate final, the Flames dispatched Comoros Islands 2-1, with goals from Richard Mbulu and Chikoti Chirwa.
Malawi interim Coach, Meke Mwase, is upbeat about winning the Plate.
“We have worked hard in training and are looking forward to winning the Plate. Since our arrival here, our approach has been to play well and win games. This is what we are going to do against South Africa.
“We will play good football and win the plate. It is good that we have come this far and thank the boys for working hard to deliver. This is our chance to win something from this tournament,” Mwase said
The Flames first won the Plate under the tutelage of Young Chimodzi after beating Zambia 1-0 courtesy of Zicco Nkanda’ goal.
Flames top striker, Gabadinho Mhango, believes the Flames can make it.
“We wanted to win the Cosafa Cup but we are also happy playing in the Cosafa Plate. We have been looking forward to the match against South Africa and this is our chance to prove that we have a strong team in Malawi,” Mhango said.
Mhango, alongside Gerald Phiri Junior and Mauritiius’ Ahley Nazira, are the leading goal scorers at the tournament with three goals each.
As usual, Mhango will likely lead the attack alongside Richard Mbulu, with Gerald Phiri Junior, John Banda, Chimwemwe Idana and Micium Mhone pulling the strings in midfield.
At the back, Mwase will keep faith in Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi, Precious Sambani and Charles Petro to provide cover to Brighton Munthali.
The Flames have been impressive at this year ’s competition, having won two games and drawn once in the group stages.
Malawi beat Seychelles 3-0 before edging Namibia 2-1. They went on to draw 1-1 against Mozambique before losing 4-2 to Zambia on post-match penalties in the quarterfinals.
This far, the Flames have scored 10 goals and conceded four in five games.
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