FLAMES sprung from behind to draw 2-2 with South African hosts, Mbombela United, yesterday in a final warm-up for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Swaziland.
Gerald Phiri Jnr led the late charge with a wonder free-kick goal in the second half, before substitute Chawanangwa Kawonga levelled matters.
The South African First Division side had snatched two first half penalty goals in Mpumalanga Province.
Featuring a full-strength squad captained by Limbikani Mzava, there were positives and headaches too for Flames coach Ernest Mtawali to pick ahead of the 2017 Group L match in Swaziland.
Mtawali was unhappy with the slack defending, but pleased that when he withdrew Robert Ng’ambi, John Banda, Chiukepo Msowoya and Chimango Kayira for youngsters Yamikani Chester, Isaac Kaliati, Manase Chiyesa and Kawonga respectively, the Flames clicked into gear.
“I was not happy with the first half, but the second. Gerald Phiri scored a beauty from 35 metres; 90 degrees into the top corner. It was world-class. He looks lazy, yet he wins the ball, passes and brings the rest into the game,” Mtawali explained.
It was coach Mtawali’s second outing having won 1-0 against Uganda on July 6. Mtawali was without Micium Mhone and Muhamad Sulumba who were battling to get their passports that are being used for processing work permits.
He has his work cut out in Sunday’s mustwin for the Flames who anchor the group and are desperate to revive the Nations Cup bid that veered off after a 2-1 loss to Zimbabwe on June 13 at the Kamuzu Stadium.
Flames starting XI: Richard Chipuwa, Stanley Sanudi, Yamikani Fodya, John Lanjesi, Mzava, Phiri, Ng’ambi, Kayira, Msowoya, Robin Ngalande.
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