Three impress Mario Marinica
Three Malawi National Football Team rookies have earned coach Mario Marinica’s praises after outstanding performances in last weekend’s friendlies against Lesotho in Lilongwe.
The players are left back Alick Lungu and strikers Christopher Kumwembe and Mphatso Kamanga.
Malawi and Lesotho played two matches over the weekend, with the first ending in a 1-1 stalemate at Bingu National Stadium while the visitors won the second match 1-0 at Civo Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Nyasa Big Bullets’ Lungu and the Mighty Mukuru Wanderers duo of Kamanga and Kumwembe were outstanding for the Flames on Saturday, prompting Marinica to shower praises on them.
Lungu played the entire 90 minutes and engineered Malawi’s 19th minute goal scored by seasoned attacker Micium Mhone.
Kumwembe lasted 54 minutes, hitting the upright once and combining well with Kamanga upfront, bringing plenty of problems to Lesotho’s back four in the first half.
Marinica said Lungu is now ready for international football.
“This boy has proved that he is now mature and ready. He helped the team play well in the first half. He dictated play when we had fresh legs but things changed when the boys got tired in the second half.
“Kumwembe and Kamanga also showed us that they want to play. Let’s hope that by the time we finish the Saudi Arabia camp, we will have every player’s fitness level up there,” he said.
Former Flames goalkeeper Patrick Chimlambe advised the new players to remain level-headed in the face of the praise.
“We all saw what the new players did to the team. Their start has, indeed, been quite positive. Let’s now help them develop into top players at international level. All they need to do is itch for more and avoid being big-headed.
“We have seen some players failing to reach their full potential after growing big heads as a result of such praise. We would not want to see them losing the plot. I advise them to be patient. They should continue developing their skills so that they can reach greater heights,” Chimlambe said.
The Flames are expected to leave for Saudi Arabia on March 8 to continue with their camp training before flying to Cairo, Egypt, where they will play the Pharaohs in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on March 24.
Malawi is in Group D of the qualifiers alongside Ethiopia, Guinea and Egypt, with all the four teams having amassed three points each.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.