Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, summed up their miserable campaign in World Cup qualifiers when they lost 1-0 to Mozambique Tuesday.
The Flames finished bottom of Group D of the World Cup qualifiers following the loss to the Mambas at Mathieu Kerekou Stadium in Cotonou, Benin.
The defeat completed Flames’ free-fall, having lost four consecutive matches.
Additionally, the Flames won a single match in 11 consecutive matches in all competitions.
In six World Cup qualifiers, the Flames registered a 1-0 victory over the Mambas at Orlando Stadium in September this year.
It was expected that the Flames would return to winning ways but it was not going to happen.
The Flames finished the entire match without a shot on target—translating to 180 minutes after a similar showing in a 4-0 loss to Cameroon on Saturday.
The poor showing against Mozambique should send shocking waves in Flames camp ahead of Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals slated for January 9 to February 6 2022 in Cameroon.
It was a game where the majority of the Flames players failed to do the basics. Captain Limbikani Oscar Mzava scored into his own net in the 52nd minute.
The goal resulted from poor communication from Mzava and goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe, who started ahead of injured Brighton Munthali.
On the other hand, Kakhobwe was at fault as he was out of position when Mzava was heading the ball.
Flames coach Meck Mwase rang changes to the side that started against Cameroon on Saturday.
Full-back Gomezgani Chirwa started in place of Francis Mlimbika.
Without the suspended John Banda and Chikoti Chirwa, Mwase opted for Tawonga Chimodzi, Chimwemwe Idana, Francisco Madinga, Mike Mkwate and Peter Banda, who passed a late fitness test to man the midfield.
Khuda Muyaba started as a lone striker. However, Flames lacked firepower upfront as Muyaba was a lone ranger and failed to beat a rock solid Mozambique defence led by Edmilson Dove.
In midfield, the Mambas also had a lion’s share of possession through Manuel Kambala and veteran Elias Pelembe. Striker Reginaldo Faite was a threat and hit the post in the first half.
The Flames were clueless as they failed to create any meaningful chance through out the match.
In search for a goal, Mwase pulled out Madinga and Mkwate for Richard Mbulu and Yamikani Chester.
Chester and Mbulu brought some life into Flames attack but they failed to hit the target.
There was no immediate reaction from Mwase Tuesday.
But former Flames defender Elvis Kafoteka said the majority of the players lacked a fighting spirit.
“To be honest, some of the players do not deserve to play for Malawi. They must change altitude; otherwise, we will be whipping boys at Afcon finals,” he said.
In the qualifiers, the Flames started with a 2-0 loss to Cameroon before beating Mozambique 1-0. Malawi lost back-to-back matches 3-0 and 2-1 to Ivory Coast before suffering a 4-0 loss to Cameroon.