Malawi National Football Team striker Gabadinho Mhango and his captain Limbikani Mzava avoided defeats on Wednesday when their South African Premier Soccer League sides Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu were held to goalless draws.
Mhango’s Pirates were at their Orlando Stadium home in Johannesburg for the Caf Confederation Cup Group A encounter against Algerian side ES Setif.
The Buccaneers disappointed as they failed to use home ground advantage with Mhango starting from the bench.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets star was introduced in the last ten minutes of the match but it was too late for him to make a difference.
Setif dropped the Buccaneers back in their own half inside the closing stages but the Soweto giants managed to hold ground and keep the visitors under full wraps.
The development forced Pirates coach Josef Zinnibauer to shuffle the pack ten minutes from time and introduce Mhango for Tshegofatso Mabasa as well as Linda Mntambo ahead of Abel Mabaso.
The Buccaneers were unable to break down their Algerian opponents but the stalemate nonetheless saw them retain their unbeaten record and top Group A with nine points.
Pirates will be guaranteed a place in the final eight if Nigeria’s Enyimba do not lose away to Libya’s Al Ahly Benghazi in a match which was postponed to Thursday.
Mhango said he was optimistic that they would reach the quarterfinal stage.
“We did our best to win the match but unfortunately we failed. Caf games are always tough. We are still on top of Group A and I am sure we will progress to the knockout stage,” he said.
The second-tier continental competition will wrap up its group phase with eight fixtures on April 28. The draw for the knockout phase will be conducted on April 30.
Mzava’s AmaZulu were at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium where they held Mamelodi Sundowns to a goalless draw in a DStv Premiership match. Mzava watched the crunching tie from the sidelines.
AmaZulu are third on the log table with 41 points from 23 matches, six points behind leaders Sundowns who have 47 points from 21 matches.
Meanwhile, the Flames duo of Gerald Phiri Jnr and Richard Mbulu will be in action today as their Baroka FC takes on Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium.
Baroka are fresh from beating Chippa United 1-0 and Phiri Jnr said they are looking forward to another win.
“We didn’t rest after grabbing maximum points on Tuesday. We want to push for a top four slot, so we are taking each and every game seriously,” he said.
There was a success story for a team with Malawians in the Glad Africa Championship with Flames striker Khuda Muyaba on the winning side when Polokwane City triumphed 2-0 over Bizana Pondo Chiefs at King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium.
Muyaba was on the scoresheet with Polokwane’s second goal which took his tally to six for the season.
Chembezi did not travel to Durban for the match as he was ill.
Polokwane are stuck on position 11 with 30 points from 24 matches.
Flames Team Manager Clement Kafwafwa said foreign-based players need to continue working hard at their clubs if they are to win positions in the starting line-up.
“It is always exciting to see Malawians performing well in foreign leagues. This is what we need as we look forward to World Cup qualifiers in June.
“We want players who fight for positions in the starting line-up at their clubs. They should make us proud by playing every week. We will continue to monitor their performance,” Kafwafwa said.