Red heart


After enduring unpleasant campaign in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifiers, Flames woke up from their slumber with a jealous heart to damage Swaziland’s hopes of qualifying for Gabon finals as the best losers.

Bidvest Wits midfielder, Gerald Papa Phiri jnr is prolifically taken free kick beyond outstretched Swaziland goalkeeper, Nhlanhla Gwebu, in the seventh minute was a goal that Flames had packaged to console the nation after misfiring throughout the qualifiers.

The faces were familiar but the line-up was a much changed one with vice captain, Chiukepo Msowoya, being the most noticeable casualty as he did not even warm the bench.


Experienced centre-half Harry Nyirenda and right-back Stanley Sanudi were dropped to the bench while Blue Eagles right-back, Steve Chagoma, and Moyale Barracks striker Gastin Simkonda were given a rare start.

Overlooked duo, Robert Ng’ambi, of Platinum Stars and Mozambique-based, Chimango Kayira, returned to the starting line-up to engineer Malawi’s only win in the qualifiers.

Furthermore, it helped Malawi end with five points from six games instead of two which they had collected in five games.


The changes highlighted F l a m e s ’ A c t i n g C o a c h , Nsazurwimo Ramadhan, tactical prowess and hunger for success.

Malawi suffered a shaky start, when Chagoma, centre-half, Miracle Gabeya, and skipper, Limbikani Mzava, panicked unnecessarily to allow Felix Badenhorst a golden opportunity but outstanding and alert goalkeeper, Charles Swini, left his line to save the situation.

From that moment, Flames created numerous clear-cut opportunities with Gerald Papa and lively Gabadinho Mhango threatening to increase Malawi’s tally at will but they either saw their effort hitting the woodwork or narrowly missing the target.

After resumption, Flames struggled in flair but Swini was impressive to deny Swaziland a goal.

Realising danger, Ramadhan at interval substituted Chagoma for Stanley Sanudi, Gerald Papa Jnr for Rafiq Namwera and introduced Peter Wadabwa for Simkonda.

After the game, Swaziland Coach, Harrius Bulunga, was dejected whereas his counterpart, Ramadhan, paid tribute to the players for following instructions.

“I indicated earlier on that we needed to give our supporters and sponsors something to smile for and the players worked hard to achieve this,” he said.

As we went to the press yesterday, group L leaders Zimbabwe were meeting Guinea, who had five points from five games.

LINE UPS-Flames: Charles Swini, Limbikani Mzava, Steven Chagoma (Stanley Sanudi), Miracle Gabeya, Francis Mlimbika, John Banda, Robert Ng’ambi, Gerald Phiri jnr (Rafiq Namwera), Chimango Kayira, Gabadinho Mhango, Gastin Simkonda (Peter Wadabwa.

Swaziland: Nhlanhla Gwebu, Tony Tsabedze, Sifiso Mabila, Sanele Mkhwelu, Mandla Palma, Siyabonga Mduli, Siboniso Malambe, Wonder Nhleko, Mnthunzi Mkhontfo, Mcolisi Lukhele, Felix Badenhorst.

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