Malawi national football team wasted two golden chances as they were held to a goal-less draw by Zimbabwe’s Warriors in an international friendly at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre Sunday.
Just four days after losing 1-0 to Zambia in another friendly match in Lusaka, Flames coach Meck Mwase was hoping for quick recovery but he was left ruing missed chances after striker Frank Gabadinho Mhango and midfielder Chimwemwe Idana failed to convert clear cut chances in the first half.
First it was Idana, who failed to put the ball into an empty net after a nice cross from Yamikani Chester in the 38th minute. It was difficult to miss than to score but Idana blasted the ball over the crossbar from inside the box much to disbelief of Mwase and his backroom staff.
Moments later, Mhango after a fine work, also blasted over the bar.
However, it was an improved performance from the Flames compared to the match against Zambia.
Mwase made several changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Zambia last week. Goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe started in place of Brighton Munthali whereas Peter Cholopi replaced rested Chembezi Dennis.
In midfield, Chikoti Chirwa and Chimwemwe Idana also replaced Chimango Kaira and Gerald Phiri Junior whereas upfront Schumacher Kuwali, Mhango and Chester started as Richard Mbulu was relegated to the bench.
After the game, Mwase though ruing missed chances, looked contended with the goal-less draw.
“We are a work in progress and we believe very soon the players will gain required match fitness. The boys played according to expectations, although we created chances but we could not convert them. The long break affected the players and in football you need a bit of luck to win matches sometimes,” he said.
The Flames will face Burkina Faso in the Afcon qualifiers next month whereas Zimbabwe will meet African champions Algeria. Warriors who featured Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and Kaizer Chiefs attacker Khama Billiat rarely threatened the hosts.
Warriors coach Zdreviko Logarusic, who assembled his squad on Friday, was satisfied with the result.
“I am happy with the game because we just had training for one day and about six players did not train. And Malawi surprised me because they were also better than we expected. They are very strong as a team,” he added.
The Flames are third in group B of the Afcon qualifiers with three points from two games. Uganda and Burkina Faso are joint leaders in the group with four points each.
Flames line up: Kakhobwe, Stanely Sanudi, Charles Petro, Peter Cholopi, Precious Sambani, Chikoti Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana, Yamikani Chester, Schumacher Kuwali, John Banda, Gabadinho Mhango
Zimbabwe: Talbert Shumba, Macuve Phiri, Devine Lungu, Alec Mudimu, Teenage Hadebe, Marvelous Nakamba, Girlow Chimwemwe, Tanara Chinyahara, Charton Shumba, Khama Billiati, Tafadzwa Rusike