Flames ship in 4 goals
Tactless, clueless, helpless and hopeless summed up Malawi National Football Team’s awful performance as they were humbled and outclassed at their own backyard in a 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
The Flames, who purportedly boycotted Sunday’s training session due to unpaid external travel allowances amounting to K41 million, were an epitome of a harshly assembled social team as they suffered a 4-0 antagonising defeat to Group D leaders Egypt at Bingu National Stadium Tuesday.
This is an embarrassing home defeat for the Flames, who registered their worst Afcon home defeat in 1975, when they went down 6-1 to Zambia.
Again, this was the first time that the Flames have lost with such a huge margin after the 3-1 home loss to Cameroon in 1995.
Just like in the first leg away in Cairo, the performance was awful.
Honestly, the Flames were just a pale of their own shadows.
In fact, they did not match the visitors in many departments.
The Flames did not come to the party and looked disjointed. There was a cocktail of mistakes from the players.
Probably, Flames coach Mario Marian Marinica was feeling the heat on the bench as he left for the dressing room with 15 minutes to full time.
The Flames gave the fans some false hopes in the opening two minutes but, within the blink of an eye, the Pharaohs broke the deadlock as Tarek Ahmed fired a powerful shot over goalkeeper Charles Thom.
The Pharaohs doubled the lead in the 16th minute through Marmoush, who scored from close range after the Flames’ defence was caught napping.
Four minutes later, Mohammad Salah added the third goal after he fired a low shot outside the 18-yard box.
Stain Davie fluffed a scoring opportunity in the first half when he blasted his shot over the bar with only goalkeeper Ahmed Elshenawi to beat.
Marinica was forced to introduce Chimwemwe Idana for injured Peter Banda in the early stages of the match.
After the break, Ahmed Mostafa Tayed scored the fourth goal for the visitors.
After the fourth goal, Marinica brought in Micium Mhone, Gaddie Chirwa and Brighton Munthali for Idana, Davie and Thom, respectively.
However, it was too little, too late for the Flames.
Following the defeat, the Flames are bottom in Group D with three points from four matches, six points behind leaders Egypt.
Guinea are second with the nine points as well. Malawi will face Ethiopia away in June before playing Guinea at home in September.
In post-match reaction, Marinica cut a frustrated figure.
“This is not the result we wanted. I think it is time to rebuild Malawi football,” he said.
On his part, Egypt coach Rui Vittoria said the result was not a true reflection of the match.
“I think Malawi tried hard and pushed us for the entire match,” he said.