By: Andrew Cane Chilapondwa
Despite being a Tuesday, the stadium was filled to capacity by Malawians who came in large numbers to support the Malawi National Football team only to leave disappointed due Flames’ poor performance for which they lost 2-1 to Guinea in their 2017 Gabon African Cup of Nations qualifier on the afternoon.
The defeat has forced Head Coach, Ernest Mtawali and Captain Limbikani Mzava to swallow their pride and apologize to the entire nation by admitting that they have let the country down.
Mtawali said what he saw on the day was not what he expected from his boys who played well in Guinea on Saturday to a goalless draw but failed to perform well at home in front of thousands of supporters who abandoned their respective jobs for the team.
“After holding Guinea in their own backyard, everybody expected the team to perform better as it was playing at home on Tuesday but that wasn’t the case. We performed miserably in front of our home fans who came in large numbers to support us.”
“We used a 3-5-1 formation in order to create goal scoring opportunities but our friends closed us down from the word go and I must admit that it was not the best performance from the team. What happened on Tuesday is unacceptable and we are apologizing to Malawians for letting them down on that day,” he said.
Mzava echoed his coach’s words saying up until now, they don’t know what exactly happened on Tuesday.
“We never planned to lose and everybody gave us an upper hand against our opponents but in the field of play, it was a different story as we failed to play our game and Guinea outplayed us for the entire 90 minutes. We failed to attack and we were being played in our own half which resulting in our failure to create goal scoring opportunities.”
Like I said, we wanted to win this game for Malawians who have been supporting us throughout this qualification campaign but we lost the match. We are very sorry, let’s look forward to the future. We weren’t good on the day and the results went against us,” he said.
The defeat ended Malawi’s dream of making it to Gabon as they are at the bottom of Group L with 2 points from four games. Zimbabwe leading the group with 8 points, Guinea and Swaziland on second and third respectively with 5 points each.
The Flames will play Zimbabwe and Swaziland in their remaining two games but faces an uphill struggle to collect something from the two encounters.
The last time Malawi participated in Afcon finals was in 2010 in Angola where they finished bottom of Group A with 3 points they collected after beating Algeria 3-nil but went on to lose to Angola and Mali respectively.