Malawi Under-17 Boys National Football Team took a bold step towards qualification for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) as they eased past Namibia 2-1 in an entertaining match at Bingu National Stadium Sunday.
The junior Flames are just 90 minutes away from the promised land, having qualified for the semifinals of the Cosafa Cup.
Finalists for this championship will qualify for the Afcon finals to be staged in Algeria in April next year.
Namibia and Botswana will fight for the remaining semifinal slot in Group A as they face off Tuesday at the same venue.
However, Malawi will wait for their opponents in the semifinals, as Group A is still wide open, with South Africa and Zambia counting on three points each from a single match.
Just like in the 2-2 draw with Botswana on Friday, the junior Flames also came from behind yesterday.
But this time, they got all the important three points.
Dorian Nanuseb gave Namibia the lead on 27th minute with a tap in when goalkeeper Julius Banda fumbled the ball.
The goal came just a minute after Vincent Harrison had the ball into the back of the net but was ruled out for offside.
However, the lead was short-lived as skipper Blessings Kanowa levelled the scores from the penalty spot.
The junior Flames were awarded a penalty after Kanowa was brought down in the box.
The two teams went for recess with the scores tied at 1-1.
Substitute Webster Mzunda had other ideas for the hosts when he got the priceless goal with eight minutes to go to ensure Malawi’s progression to the last four.
Malawi lead Group A with four points from two matches whereas Botswana are second with one point.
In post-match interview, Malawi Under-17 Coach Deklerk Msakakuona said there were many positives drawn from yesterday’s match.
“The team played well against Namibia. They played with purpose and showed some maturity,” Msakakuona said.
Taking his turn, Namibia Coach Gerald Guther conceded defeat.
“We played a very good team,” Guther said.
Action in girls’ football returns today as Malawi will just need a draw against Namibia to advance to the semifinals.
In Group B, South Africa will also be hoping to seal their place in the semifinals when they face Mozambique this afternoon.
South Africa thrashed Seycheles 11-0 in their opening match. Zambia will meet Seychelles.