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Zambia’s Fashion Sakala torments junior Flames again

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By Mabvuto Kambuwe In Lusaka, Zambia:

Malawi under-23 national football team crashed out of the 2019 under-23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after losing 1-0 to Zambia at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka Sunday, with dangerman Fashion Sakala leading the onslaught again.

The nimble-footed Sakala was also the architect of Malawi’s 0-1 loss to the young Chipolopolo in the first leg at Kamuzu Stadium last week.

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The result means Malawi have exited the competition by a 2-0 aggregate.

Malawi Coach, Meke Mwase, made one change from the team that lost the first leg 1-0 and omitted Peter Banda from the starting line-up in favour of Gregory Nachipo.

Nachipo was featured as a left winger, probably for the first time in his career, and he clearly struggled.

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Malawi sat too deep at the back and struggled to settle quickly, inviting pressure from the hosts.

The Zambians were dangerous on the offensive in their hunt for an early goal but missed some chances.

The junior Flames rarely threatened the hosts as they failed to break Zambia’s defence.

After scoring in the first leg at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, Sakala returned to haunt Malawi when he scored 39 minutes into the first half.

The goal originated from Chimwemwe Idana’s blunder after he misplaced a pass to Harison Chisala, who sliced it to Sakala, who outpaced Precious Sambani for a neat finish— beating goalkeeper Brighton Munthali at the near post.

Zambia continued to pile more pressure on Malawi in search of another goal but the two teams went for recess with the hosts leading.

In the second half, Mwase introduced Chikaiko Batisoni for Nachipo to partner Kajoke upfront.

Mike Mkwate was Malawi’s best player on the field with his deft passes but he lacked support.

On the other hand, Malawi should thank Munthali for making several saves that limited the damage.

Mwase and Flames Coach Ronny van Geneugden were hesitant to introduce Banda until the last 10 minutes of the game.

He was brought in after 80 minutes for Sambani and made an instant impact as he registered a shot on target.

However, it was too late to save the sinking ship.

Mwase was visibly dejected with the loss and said: “It is sad that we are out of the competition but we still have a good team. We lost to a very strong side with several players competing in Europe.”

Zambia Coach, Beston Chambeshi, hailed his charges for the win.

“We played a good game and I am proud of my players,” Chambeshi said.

Zambia will face either Burundi or Congo Brazzaville, who were in action yesterday.

Starting line-ups:

Malawi-Munthali, Kalema, Chembezi, Sambani, Wali, Mkwate, Maganizo, Kaliati, Nachipo, Idana, Kajoke.

Zambia – Banda, Sakala, Mayembe, Kamanga, Nyondo, Musonda, Chisala, Banda, Daka, Mwepu, Sakala.

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