By Mphatso Malidadi:
The Malawi national football team has suffered injury setbacks to first choice players Charles Swini and Stanley Sanudi ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Kenya.
The Flames will face the Harambee Stars in Nairobi after losing 3-0 to Morocco on Saturday night in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Hakim Ziyech put the Atlas Lions in the lead in the third minute before Youssef En-Nesyri claimed a brace in the 42nd and 78th minute.
The defeat saw Malawi dropping to third position in Group B’s log table whereas Morocco moved to second position with three points.
The two teams are tied on three points but Morocco have a better goal difference.
Cameroon lead the group with four points while Comoros, who held the Indomitable Lions to a 1-1 stalemate on the same day, anchor the table with a point.
Flames Team Manager, James Sangala, said the team let in an early goal which affected its performance in the entire match.
“The goals were giveaways. Morocco capitalised on the mistakes we made to score those goals. We had some best moments too but we just could not find the target,” Sangala said.
He also disclosed that goalkeeper Swini and right-back Sanudi sustained ankle injuries and would be examined before facing Kenya.
“The two have injuries and are awaiting certification from the doctor to be considered for the match. This is an important match which will help us to learn and adjust to playing two games within a short period of time. We will face Cameroon twice within a few days and this friendly will help us to prepare the team for that challenge,” Sangala said.
The team could find itself in a tricky situation should Swini fail to pass the test as Brighton Munthali is the only other goalkeeper on the trip.
A local football analyst, Higger Mkandawire, said the team was regressing at a time it was supposed to start delivering the goods.
“It seems our technical panel did not do a good job in studying our opponents and developing a detailed game plan. We could have done better with team selection.
“It is also worth noting that most of the times, when we play in West or North Africa, we hardly get a result because most of the games are played at night. Our local players are yet to adapt to playing under floodlights,” he said.
It is yet to be seen if at all Coach Ronny van Geneugden will maintain the squad for next month’s matches against Cameroon as other players who are playing well in the TNM Super League were not picked.
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