Long wait for Flames replica jerseys
By Mabvuto Kambuwe & Mphatso Malidadi
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) encountered another hitch after the much awaited Flames Moto replica kits consignment failed to arrive in the country on Monday.
Fam gave Malawians false hopes when it announced that Flames replica jerseys would hit the market Tuesday just hours before the Round of 16 match between The Flames and Morocco.
Fam Commercial Director Limbani Matola was keeping fingers crossed that the first consignment would arrive in the next earliest flight.
“The plane which was expected to carry the replicas did not carry any cargo. Due to Covid protocols, there are a lot of uncertainties in the aviation industry.
“Preference and priority is given to high traffic and profitable routes/ regions. This has largely put sub- Saharan Africa and specifically this region at a very big disadvantage,” Matola said.
In a statement on Monday, the association said the delay was due to logistical challenges.
Before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament two weeks ago, Fam announced that it experienced delays in producing the replica kits in China and Vietnam.
Football analyst Kim Kamau said it was unfortunate that the replica jerseys had not arrived in the country.
“This is shameful. It will not make sense to have the replica jerseys after the Afcon finals. This is a missed opportunity,” match on a high with Mhango and Francisco Madinga threatening the Atlas Lions.
After Mhango’s goal, the Flames sat too deep and invited the pressure from Morocco.
From that moment, the Atlas Lions dominated the match and created numerous scoring opportunities but goalkeeper Charles Thomu made three crucial saves in the first half to keep Malawi in the game.
Before Morocco’s equaliser, Mhango had a chance to double Flames lead but he shot wide against the run of play.
Sensing danger, Flames interim coach Mario Marian Marinica made his first substitution when he brought Gerald Phiri Junior for Micium Mhone just before the break.
After resumption, the Atlas Lions continued to pile pressure on the Flames.
However, Phiri Junior was at fault when he fouled a Moroccan player.
From the resultant free-kick, Hakim scored a beautiful goal with his right foot as Thomu was helpless in the 70th minute.
After the goal, Marinica made several changes but it had little impact on the game. Richard Mbulu came in for Khuda Muyaba before Stanley Sanudi, Chimwemwe Idana and Madinga paved the way for Mark Fodya, Robin Ngalande and Stain Davie, respectively.
Marinica maintained the starting line-up that started in the 0-0 stalemate against Senegal in the group stage.
After a heroic performance against Senegal, goalkeeper Thomu retained his place ahead of Ernest Kakhobwe whereas the back four of Sanudi, Lawrence Chaziya, Dennis Chembezi and Gomezgani Chirwa also started.
Stand-in captain John Banda started his fourth consecutive match alongside Idana and Madinga.
Upfront, Marinica kept faith in Mhango and Khuda Muyaba.
The Flames reached the Round of 16 for the first time as third best losers with four points.
During the continental tournament, Malawi lost to Guinea 1-0, beat Zimbabwe 2-1 and drew against Senegal 0-0.
Line ups: Malawi: Thom, Sanudi, Chirwa, Chaziya, Chembezi. John Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Francisco Madinga, Mhone, Mhango, Muyaba
Morocco: Bounou, Hakim, Saiss, Aguerd, Masina, Amrabat, Louza, Amallah, El Kaabi, En-nesyri, Boufal.