MALAWI’S Under 17 National Football Team yesterday secured a winning start to the 2017 Cosafa Under 17 Championship in Mauritius Cup with a 2-0 win over Botswana to go top of Group A.
The lads’ achievement is in sharp contrast with their seniors who had a losing start to the Cosafa Cup in South Africa last month as they went down to guest nation Tanzania by the same margin.
Chinsinsi Maonga put in the first goal for the Junior Flames as his shot was parried into the net by Botswana’s goalkeeper after 15 minutes of action. Tathedwa Willard netted the second in the 59th minute to complete the rout.
However, the Junior Flames need to improve on ball possession as they were outclassed by the Tswanas who registered 83 per cent against the Malawians’ 17. But for all their possession, Botswana were awful as they failed to take any shot at goal, whereas the Junior Flames managed five shots on target and nine off the mark.
Surprisingly, the match registered no fouls, no assists, no red cards and no corner kicks, according to Football Association of Malawi’s Facebook page. The only yellow card of the match went to Botswana, with both sides being caught off side once.
Botswana made three substitutions against Malawi’s one. The Junior Flames’ Auspicious Kadzongola was named man of the match. Head coach De Klerk Msakakuona deployed an attacking 3-5-2 formation with Prince Chingancheke leading the frontline and Chikondi Mbeta supporting him.
Captain Hadj Wali spearheaded the defence as Kadzongola and Willard joined forces in midfield to keep the engine room boiling. The win puts the Junior Flames on course for another successful tournament as they look forward to improving on their bronze medal finish last year.
Football Association of Malawi Technical Director, John Kaputa, said it is pleasing that the team has started the tournament with a win.
“I had asked the team on departure to start off on a bright note. Winning your first match in a tournament builds up your confidence. This confidence will help the team to go far in the competition,” Kaputa said.
In the second match of the day, hosts Mauritius squeezed through with a 1-0 win against Zimbabwe to take up the group’s second spot. Junior Flames lineup: Kennedy Nankhaima, Shema, Willard, Wali, David Daudi, Kadzongola, Prince Chingancheke, Joseph Balakasi, Franklin Titani, Chinsinsi Maonga, Mbeta.