Flames interim coach Mario Marian Marinica has admitted that there is plenty of homework to do to improve the senior side ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals slated for next week in Cameroon.
The Romanian made the remarks after he guided the Flames to a 2-1 win over Comoros Islands in a friendly Friday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Marinica said the first match was tough as some players lacked match fitness.
“First match was a bit tough because we had new players. It was not easy but in the end, a win is a win. But we need to minimise mistakes, especially in defence,” he said.
“We tried to be compact, sometimes it worked. It was not easy, particularly as some are just new in camp and lack match fitness. But I am proud of them because they worked extremely hard.”
Marinica said despite some shortcomings, the win over Comoros will boost his players’ confidence.
“Wins bring wins and success brings success,” he added.
Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango and Polokwane City striker Khuda Muyaba were on target in the first half.
Mhango opened the scoring from a free-kick after 25 minutes before he set up Muyaba for the second goal six minutes before the break.
However, Comoros reduced the deficit through striker Faiz Matour in the 43rd minute from the penalty spot.
John Banda fouled the striker in the box and Matour stepped up to convert the spot kick sending goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe the wrong way.
The second half produced no goals as both sides made several changes.
Marinica pulled out debutant defender Lawrence Chaziya, winger Zebron Kalima and Banda for Peter Cholopi, Francisco Madinga and Charles Petro.
Then, Chikoti Chirwa replaced Cholopi, who picked up an injury.
Yamikani Chester and Kakhobwe paved way for Micium Mhone and William Thole respectively.
Captain Limbikani Mzava and striker Richard Mbulu missed the match as they were in isolation due to Covid-19 symptoms.
Meanwhile, Marinica has hailed debutants Kalima and Chaziya for outstanding display during the friendly.
Marinica described the players as bright prospects who will make it big in future.
“Playing your international debut away is always a big challenge. They were nervous at some point but remember Kalima is only 19 years old while Chaziya is 21. They both did better. I am impressed they had a good game,” he said.
Football analyst Kevin Moyo described Kalima as the brightest talent emerging in the country.
“We just need to preserve and nurture his talent to form a good combination with the likes of Peter Banda and Francisco Madinga among others,” he said.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.