Tiredness and lack of match-fitness summed up Flames’ performance after they were torn apart 4-0 by Ethiopia in an international friendly at Bahir Dar Stadium Wednesday.
The performance showed that Flames’ coach Meck Mwase has plenty of homework ahead of two crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against South Sudan on Wednesday before hosting Uganda five days later.
Like headless chickens, the Flames were second best on the day and kept chasing their own shadows the entire match.
The comical display has sent shock waves to the football fraternity ahead of must-win matches.
Although the team was dominated by Malawi-based players, the below-par performance just shows that the team is not ready for serious action.
However, Mwase could bank his hopes on foreign country-based stars, who could be available against Sudan.
Ethiopia took the lead in the 16th minute with a simple tap-in, before Kafame Kabede doubled the lead from close range at the dot of half time.
The two teams went for recess with the hosts leading 2-0.
At the break, Mwase made four changes when he brought in William Thole in goals, Paul Ndlobvu, John Banda and Robin Ngalande for Ernest Kakhobwe, Peter Cholopi, Chimwemwe Idana and Duncan Nyoni, respectively.
However, the changes brought little impact as the Flames conceded two more goals.
Safaeso Daganene increased the lead with a shot on the edge of the box that hit the near post top corner.
The hosts were not done yet as Abubukel Nasil hammered the last nail in the Flames coffin with a solo effort when he ran from the centre cycle, slotting the ball under the advancing Thole.
In post-match interviews, Mwase admitted it was a bad result.
“The match gave us a true picture and it shows that we have some work to do before we face S. Sudan. If we play like this again it will be a big problem but it will be a different ball-game,” he said.
Both sides used the match to fine-tune ahead of their respective Afcon matches. Ethiopia host Madagascar in group K.
With two matches remaining, the Flames occupy third spot with four points from four matches, four points behind leaders Burkina Faso. Uganda lie second with seven points whereas Sudan anchor the group with three points.
Group winners and runners-up will qualify for next year’s finals to be staged in Algeria.
Flames line up: Kakhobwe, Sanudi, Cholopi, Nixon Nyasulu, Sambani, Rafick Namwera, Chimango Kayira, Chimwemwe Idana, Micium Mhone, Duncan Nyoni, Vincent Nyangulu.