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Poor Flames booted out

Malawi national football team is returning home empty-handed from South Africa where it made history for all the wrong reasons as the only side that, as of yesterday, failed to score at the on-going 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup.

Some 19 fouls, seven way-ward shots, one on target and two yellow cards, summed up the performance of the Flames in a barren draw against Angola at Royal Bofokeng Stadium last evening.

Going into the Group B decisive match, the Ronny van Geneugden team needed a win at all cost while hoping that Tanzania should lose to Mauritius, who also drew 0-0 with Malawi on Tuesday.

But the Taifa Stars, who defeated the Flames 2-0 on Sunday, snatched a 1-1 draw against Mauritius in another match for the group to clinch a quarter-final berth.

Malawi danced and passed the ball in their own half with Dalitso Sailesi, Yamikani Chester and goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe a marvel to watch, but lacked composure and the cutting edge in Angola’s territory. Kakhobwe was named man of the match.

That was the only consolation for van Geneugden, who has in seven games, since being hired in April, won once, drawn thrice and lost thrice.

In a post-match interview with SuperSport Television, the Belgian chose to look at the brighter side of his team, which was the only one that failed to score in the group stages.

“I thought we deserved to have a penalty [for a first half foul on Sailesi]. We had the game in our hands against a very powerful Angola team. I think it was a good result. We have a very good young squad with a bright future,” van Geneugden said.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President, Walter Nyamilandu, in an earlier interview on Wednesday, claimed that the Belgian was on the right track, but former Nyasa Big Bullets’official Ibrahim Patel called on the association’s leadership to resign.

“In terms of the short term key performance indicators of rebuilding and adopting a new style of play, he is now ticking some of the critical boxes. We must also consider the time factor in terms of what he has achieved in three months. We are paying the price of not having youth teams in the last five years. The money has not been available for the under-17 and under-20 teams to participate in continental competitions,” Nyamilandu insisted.

But Patel yesterday said the Flames’ struggles were a reflection of leadership problems at Fam, saying: “Fam, Nyamilandu and the rest need to resign. They have failed. Simple. Accept that. There is life from there. Let others try. They can’t be there forever.”

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