Flames held by Lesotho
Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, have plenty of home work to do before they face Egypt in the 2024 Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying matches next month.
The Flames drew 1-1 against Lesotho in an international friendly at Bingu National Stadium.
If the performance against Lesotho is anything to go by, the Flames gave no hope to fans ahead of the crucial matches against the Pharaohs of Egypt.
The fans also reacted to the performance of the team as they supported Lesotho for better part of the second half.
Honestly, the players lacked match fitness. Again, there was no cohesion in the team.
That is not all, the team could not complete more than 10 passes.
It was a game of two halves as the Flames dominated the first half with the visitors taking control of the second half, when Lesotho came a changed side playing with a purpose.
Micium Mhone, who had a grand game, scored for the Flames in the 19th minute.
He showed great composure to plant home beating Lesotho goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane after good pass from Alick Lungu from the left flank.
Before the goal, striker Christopher Kumwembe hit the frame of the goal although he was in an offside position. Mphatso Kamanga also forced Moerane to make a reflex save.
However, Marinica was forced to make a change in the first half as Stain Davie came in for the injured Kamanga.
After the break, Lesotho made triple substitution when they introduced Jane Thabantso, Mokhachane and Rethabile Senkoto for Motlomelo Mkwanazi, Lemohang Lintsa and Thabang Malane.
The visitors pulled level through Thabatso from the penalty spot after defender Miracle Gabeya was adjudged to have handled the ball.
However, replay shows Newton Nyirenda’s decision was harsh as the defender did not touch the ball.
The Flames also had one penalty appeal turned down after Frank Willard shot was handled by a Lesotho player.
Both teams made several changes during the match. Marinica said it was not the result they wanted.
“We knew that the players are unfit that is the reason we organised some fitness clinics. But we are on right track,’’ he said.
Lesotho Coach Veselin Jelusic was satisfied with the performance of the team.
“The result was not the most important. We wanted to assess the players as we prepare for Zambia match,” he said.
Malawi will meet Egypt on March 24 in Cairo before a return leg four days later at BNS.