Clueless, careless and hopeless summed up Flames’ performance in their opening match of the Cosafa Cup after they surrendered a two-goal lead to share spoils in a 2-2 draw against Zimbabwe Friday.
The Flames were hoping for a first historic win over the Warriors after taking a 2-goal lead until the 62nd
minute of the match at Isaac Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Following the draw, the Flames are third with a point from one match whereas Zimbabwe have two points from two matches.
Leaders Namibia, who have three points were in action against Mozambique in a late kick off at the same venue.
Striker Khuda Muyaba gave the Flames a lead in the 27th minute when he connected a Vitumbiko Kumwenda’s pass; beating Warriors goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
The Warriors also had chances in the first half but could not find the target in four attempts as the Flames held on for a slender 1-0 first half lead.
After the break, Schumacher Kuwali doubled Flames’ lead in the 50th minute. Kuwali outpaced Zimbabwe defender before beating Arubi with a left foot shot.
After the second goal, the Flames sat back and invited pressure from the Warriors. Blessings Sarupinda pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute from close range despite fine work from Flames goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe.
Sensing danger, Flames Coach Meck Mwase made triple substitution, introducing Mike Mwate, Micium Mhone and Ndaziona Chatsalira for Chimwemwe Idana, Kuwali and Muhammad Sulumba.
Mhone nearly made an instant impact when he forced Warriors goalkeeper Arubi to make a save.
With 12 minutes to full time, Patrick Musaka levelled the scores through a stunning free-kick on the edge of the box.
It was a goal that broke the hearts of many football fans back home as the Flames were denied a victory.
In the closing stages, Kakhobwe made a save to deny man-of-the-match Ovidy Karuru.
After the match, Mwase was devastated that his side gave away a two-goal lead.
“It is unfortunate that we conceded two goals. May be the players thought the game was over and we got punished,” Mwase said in an interview monitored on SuperSport.
Zimbabwe Coach Zdravko Logarusic said the draw was a fair result for them.
The Flames will face Mozambique on Sunday in the second match of the tournament at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium before meeting Namibia and Senegal on July 13 and 14 respectively.