Malawi Under-17 national football team conceded a late equaliser to share spoils with South Africa’s Amajita after drawing 2-2 at the ongoing Cosafa Youth Championship in South Africa Sunday.
The junior Flames twice took the lead at Gelvandale Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay but the hosts responded to stay in contention.
Malawi were three minutes away from claiming victory over Amajita but failed to defend the lead.
This means Malawi need to collect maximum points from the two remaining games against Zambia and Angola to ensure qualification to the finals. However, it will not be an easy task for the youngsters.
Samson Zakeyu gave Malawi the lead with a well—taken goal in the 35th minute but Mduduzi Graham Shabalala equalised for the hosts soon after recess.
The junior Flames restored the lead through Steve Banda in the 66th minute of the match. With just three minutes to full time, Amajita delivered a hammer blow with an equaliser from Thabang Mahlangu.
Following the draw, the junior Flames are second on the log table with a point, two points behind leaders Zambia who defeated Angola in an early kickoff. South Africa lie third with Angola anchoring the table.
In the second game, Malawi will face Zambia at the same venue Tuesday before completing the campaign against Angola at Oval Stadium on Thursday.
Despite the draw, Under-17 coach Deklerk Msakakuona said there were some positive lessons drawn from the game.
“The boys played well but we made two errors that gave away the three points. It is very bad to concede late; we gave up and never safeguarded our goal area very well but these are young boys; so, we just to need to advise them on what to do,” Msakakuona said.
Amajita coach Vela Khumalo hailed his players for the fighting spirit.
Top two teams will advance to the finals of the competition and also book a ticket to the Total 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals to be staged in Morocco next year. Malawi last qualified for the continental edition in 2009 in Algeria and went on to qualify for the World Cup in Nigeria.