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Flames shift focus to Plate section

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By Williams Gondwa & Mphatso Malidadi:

FOCUSING ON NEXT MATCH—Mwase

Malawi national football team interim Coach, Meke Mwase, has said his charges have recovered from the shocking

4-2 loss to Zambia and are focused on qualifying for the Cosafa Plate final this afternoon.

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The Flames face Comoros Islands at Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban, South Africa, after falling to Chipolopolo on postmatch penalties following a 2-2 stalemate in regulation time.

Mwase said the technical panel sat down with the players and encouraged them to be positive ahead of today’s game.

“We advised them to forget what happened during the Zambia game and move on. We are now focusing on the Plate match. We made mistakes against Zambia and that is it.

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“We just need to bounce back strongly and continue with what we started. We need to win at all cost to give our fans something to smile about,” he said.

Mwase hinted that he would make changes to the team that lost to Zambia. “Some of my players picked knocks and others just need a rest,” he said. Malawi and Comoros were in the same group in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Malawi beat Comoros 1-0 in Lilongwe but lost the return match 2-1. Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi President, Walter Nyamilandu, has leapt to the defence of goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe and leftback Precius Sambani for their role in Sunday’s loss.

The two are the subject of criticism after gifting Zambia an equaliser in the 89th minute as the Flames led 2-1.

Nyamilandu said Malawi had learnt a bitter lesson.

“It is definitely a painful defeat when we were very close to victory against Zambia. We gave away the match by gifting them the last goal. This is a young team that has raised our expectations and given us a lot of hope for the future.

“It has learnt the hard way. There is no need for finger-pointing. It is unfortunate that the blunder happened, but let us not dwell on it,” he said.

Nyamilandu said the mistake was a wake-up call for Malawian football and stated that the side would forge ahead despite slipping against Zambia.

“We need to find a way as a team to master how to kill games in the dying minutes. This comes with maturity and professionalism starting from club level as they grow up. We take a lot of positives from the team’s performance. The Flames are playing good football and scoring goals in all games. The future is bright and we are forging ahead,” he said.

Malawi were leading 2-0 with goals from Gabadinho Mhango and Gerald Phiri Jnr but Zambia hit back through

Austin Muwowo and Emmanuel Chabula to force the game into postmatch penalties.

Malawi scored through Phiri and Stanley Sanudi but Sambani and Chawanangwa Kaonga missed as Zambia converted their four kicks to win the tie.

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