Coach Ernest Mtawali is optimistic that Malawi can still pull a surprise and qualify for the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations despite the Flames only collecting a single point from two qualifiers.
Malawi was on Sunday held 2-all by Group L leaders Swaziland at Somholo Stadium in a game Mtawali described as a lost opportunity to collect maximum points.
The Flames gave false hopes to their fans in Swaziland which included former President Bakili Muluzi, as they took an early lead in ninth minute through Gerald Phiri Jnr, but the hosts recovered within a few minutes and equalised.
The Flames took a lead again this time from Chiukepo Msowoya’s header, but the host again equalised in 64th minute to force the game to end 2-2.
The result means Swaziland, who beat Guinea 2-1 in the first round of the qualifiers now have four points.
They share the top position with Zimbabwe, who beat Malawi 2-1and drew one-all against Guinea yesterday.
Mtawali said he was optimistic that the Flames can pull up their socks in the next four qualifiers to be played next year.
“We should have won this game. We gave away lead twice and they were easier goals. We failed to play our planned game to keep possession,” Mtawali told Times Group’s Matindi radio after the game.
“But we still have a chance in this group. A point away from home is not that bad. There are four more games to go. We just have to make sure that we win all our home matches.”
His counterpart, Harries Bulunga, was satisfied with the draw.
“I think it was a balanced game. I believe a 2-2 draw is a true reflection of the game. Although we wanted to win, a draw is okay,” Bulunga said.
“Malawi team is good. They are technically good. We pushed them in the second half and we could have got a winning goal.”
Despite being joint leaders in the group, Bulunga refused to wear favourites tag of Group L.
“There is still a long way to go,” he said.
Malawi starting line up:
Goalkeeper: Richard Chipuwa
Defenders: Stanley Sanudi, Limbikani Mz ava , John Lanjesi, Yamikani Fodya
Midfielders: Micium Mhone, Gerald Phiri Jnr, John Banda, Chimango Kayira
Strikers: Chiukepo Msowoya, Robin Ngalande
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