Disjointed Malawi Under-17 national football team, the junior Flames, were torn apart after suffering an embarrassing 6-2 defeat to Zambia at Gelvandale Stadium at the ongoing Cosafa Youth Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, Tuesday.
Malawi’s hopes of reaching the Cosafa Youth Championship final for the second time in the competition’s history are slim.
With one match to spare, Zambia have qualified for Cosafa Under-17 final with six points from two games and also booked a spot to next year’s Total Africa Youth Championship to be staged in Morocco.
However, the remaining one slot will be decided Thursday with second-placed South Africa battling against Angola. However, the hosts- South Africa-have one foot into the final after beating Angola 2-1 in an early kick off at the same venue Tuesday.
Third-placed Malawi, who have a single point from two games, have very slim hopes of qualifying for the final. Malawi will meet bottom-placed Angola in the last match tomorrow at Oval Stadium whereas South Africa and Zambia will also be in action at Gelvandale on the same day.
The Junior Flames went into the match with the aim of breaking Zambia’s 19-year unbeaten record against Malawi but history repeated itself.
Joseph Banda was a thorn in Malawi’s fresh after hammering a hat-trick, with the other goals coming from Charles Mumba, Rickson Ng’ambi and Teddy Khumalo. Chifundo Mphasi grabbed Malawi’s consolation after scoring a brace towards the end of the match.
However, Malawi’s problems went from bad to worse after defender Cliff Mbewe was sent for an early shower for two yellow cards.
Malawi under-17 coach Deklerk Msakakuona conceded defeat.
“We have to accept the defeat. These are youngsters and can make a lot of mistakes,” Msakakuona said.
The junior Flames last won the Cosafa Cup in 2001 when the tournament was held in the country. Malawi also last qualified for the continental edition in 2009 in Algeria and went on to qualify for the World Cup in Nigeria in 2010.
Zambia under-17 coach George Chilufya said his charges achieved what they had planned.
“We dominated the match well and the boys followed the instructions and the application was ok,” he said.
Line ups: Malawi: Justice Mhone, Innocent Sikwese, Cliff Mbewe, Andrew Lameck, Timothy Nyasulu, James Chomba, Steve Banda, Samson Zakeyu, Macdonald Chiwanda, Yankho Chitembeya, Chifundo Mphasi.
Zambia: Eric Musonda, Lombe Mutale, Teddy Khumalo, Miguel Chaiwa, Onesimus Chipango, Dominic Kanda, Rickson Ng’ambi, Richard Ngoma, Joseph Banda, Charles Mumba, Julius Kumwenda.