By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Malawi national football team returned home from this year’s Cosafa Cup in Durban, South Africa, with interim Coach Meke Mwase expressing happiness with his achievements.
The Flames arrived in the country on Saturday afternoon through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe with three wins, one draw and two losses.
Mwase said he was a happy man despite failing to win the Cosafa Plate which South Africa successfully defended courtesy of a 5-4 post-match penalty victory in the final on Friday evening.
“We had a great tournament and I salute the players for working hard. It was not easy because other teams were also strong. The team certainly has a future,” Mwase said.
The Flames thrashed Seychelles 3-0 before defeating Namibia 2-1 in the second game of the Group B of the campaign. They wrapped up their group games with a 1-1 draw with Mozambique.
But Malawi lost 4-2 to Zambia on post-match penalties after a 2-2 stalemate in regulation time.
The result meant that the Flames were relegated to the Cosafa Plate where they defeated Comoros Islands 2-1 to qualify for the final.
Malawi’s outstanding performance did not elude the attention of organisers as star players Gabadidhno Mhango and Gerald Phiri Junior shone during the awards ceremony on Saturday evening.
Phiri, who has sealed a three-year deal with South Africa Premier Soccer League side, Baroka, was named Player-of-the- Tournament after an impressive performance which saw him win two Man-of-the-Match awards.
He also finished as the joint top goal-scorer alongside compatriot Mhango with three goals.
Mhango won the Man-of-the-Match accolade once as he spearheaded Malawi’s frontline.
To put the icing on the cake, the Flames were named the Fair Play Team of the competition.
Malawi also emerged as the competition’s highest scoring team with 10 goals and also netted the most goals in one match against Seychelles.
The Flames’ 2-2 draw against Zambia was also registered as one of the five games that had the highest number of goals at five.
During the Saturday final in the South African coastal city, Zambia lifted the cup after defeating Botswana 1-0 at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.
There were double celebrations for Zambia as their goalkeeper, Sebastian Mwange, was named best custodian of the regional tournament.
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