BY MABVUTO KAMBUWE:
Malawi under-20 national football team and their South African opponents played out to a goal-less draw in the first leg of the third and last qualifying round of the Africa Cup of Nations at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg Sunday.
The result could be good news for Malawi as they did not concede away. But for Malawi to progress to the next round, they should beat South Africa in the return leg at home on Saturday.
According to www. soccerladuma, Amajita took control of the game in the opening minutes as Promise Mkhuma and Lyle Foster came close to scoring.
But Foster missed a golden opportunity when he fired over the bar 16 minutes into the match.
Malawi also had a chance through Andrew Malisero but the Kenya-based forward fired wide with a powerful right-footed effort.
“The second half started at high pace as the South Africans pushed for goal, with Kobamelo Kodisang seeing his header palmed away by the Malawian goalkeeper.
Amajita shot stopper Khulekani Kubheka, who endured a quiet first half, kept his side in the contest with a fine save in the 15th minute as the visitors upped the tempo,” reported www.soccerladuma.
In an interview from South Africa, junior Flames Head Coach, Meke Mwase, said he was pleased with the result heading into the second leg.
“We played well but the result is good although we have to be cautious in the return leg. We need to beat them at all cost to qualify for the finals. I have so much faith in the players that they will do it,” Mwase said.
The overall winner between Malawi and South Africa will progress to the finals to be staged in Niger next year.
The junior Flames remain unbeaten in the competition’s away games. They knocked out Kingdom Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) on away goals rule after a 1-1 aggregate score before beating Angola 5-3 on aggregate in the second round.
Malawi last qualified for the finals of the competition in 1999 when it was held in Ghana.
Malawi line up: Charles Thom, Hadji Wali, Charles Petro, Kelvin Kadzinje, Joseph Balakasi, Timothy Silwimba, Chinsinsi Maonga, Auspicious Kadzongola, David Daudi, Peter Banda, Andrew Malisero.
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