Some soccer analysts say lack of game management cost the Flames in the 1-0 defeat to Guinea in the opening match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium on Monday.
The Flames dominated the match and had plenty of chances to comfortably win the game but lacked exposure in front of the goal.
On the other hand, Guinea should thank goalkeeper Aly Keita for producing a string of saves to keep his side in the tie.
Former Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan also said the Flames lacked experience.
“The Flames played well but I think they lacked experience to manage the game,” Gyan said on SuperSport.
Former Flames coach Kinnah Phiri said the team should not lose hope.
“Honestly, the Flames performed beyond my expectations. We had more chances than them and we dominated the match. In big games, you need to utilise chances but we were wasteful in front of the goal,” said Phiri, who guided the Flames during the 2010 edition finals in Angola.
Attacking midfielder Yamikani Chester, who was playing as a striker alongside Khuda Muyaba, wasted two scoring opportunities. Captain Limbikani Mzava, Micium Mhone and Peter Banda forced Guinea goalkeeper to make reflex saves.
The Flames will face Zimbabwe in a must-win match on Friday before meeting Senegal on Tuesday next week.
Former defender Moses Chavula, who was part of the 2010 squad, said the Flames technical panel should work on finishing.
“The players lacked composure. But I am happy that there was a fighting spirit among the players,” the former Flames left back said.
Against Guinea, the Flames were without some key players namely Gabadinho Mhango, Robin Ngalande, Charles Petro, Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi and Chikoti Chirwa, due to Coronavirus infection.
However, some of the players could be available against Zimbabwe if they test negative for Coronavirus.
Flames have recalled reserve players, namely Gerald Phiri Junior, Paul Ndhlovu, Stain Davie and Dan Chimbalanga.
Malawi have never reached the knockout stages of the competition after exiting in the group stages in 1984 (Ivory Coast) and 2010 in Angola.