By: Andrew Cane Chilapondwa
The Flames of Malawi are probably out of 2017 Gabon African Cup of Nations after going down 2-1 at home to Guinea on Tuesday afternoon.
Malawians came in their large numbers as if it was a weekend only to see their team performing miserably in the entire 90 minutes of the match. Flames mentor Enerst Mtawali used an attacking 3-5-2 formation, with Chiukepo Msowoya and Gabadinho Mhango being partnered together in front of goals. From the word go, the visitors took control of the midfield as Chimango Kayira, Robert Ng’ambi and Isaac Kaliyati failed to tame Lamine Mohammed Yattara, Ibrahim Traore and Seddouba Soumah who were a marvel to watch.
However, despite playing second fiddle, it was the host who took the lead in the 33rd minute through Msowoya who connected well from a John Banda’s free kick 1-0.
The goal rejuvenated Malawi’s tempo as they attacked with intent for the first time in the opening minutes no wonder Mhango scored but his goal was ruled for offside by the Mauritius referee Nlinkoo Parmendra. Just when everybody thought that the visitors were in total control, Guinea silenced the entire stadium. Across from Michel Guy Landel caught Malawi’s defence napping, allowing Mohammed Yattara to score past advanced Brighton Munthali in goals for the home team, 1-1.
In the second half, Schumaker Kuwali and Francis Mulimbika came in for Mhango and Kaliyati respectively. Despite this change, Malawi was below par as the visitors played with confidence, leaving Malawians in total disbelief as nobody saw it coming.
Guinea then scored their second goal mid-way through the half from Mohammed Yattara again. A corner from the left flank of the Northern goal post was too much for Munthali who thumbled the ball into Yatttara’s direction to slot into an open net, 2-1.
Alhassane Bangoura, Francois Kamano and Sory Ibrahim Keita all came in for the visitors who were dominating the showdown. Flames’s closest chance came from a free kick which was well saved by Yattara Mousaa in goals for the visitors and after the final whistle, it ended 2-1 in favor of Guinea.
Speaking to the media after the defeat, Mtawali conceded that his boys were below par throughout the match.
On whether his side is still in the contention to make it to Gabon, Mtalawi said: “We will just play the remaining games and see where we will be after the qualification phase.”
The Flames will play Zimbabwe and Swaziland in their final games. Currently, Zimbabwe leads Group L with 8 points, seconded by Guinea on 5 points, Swaziland on third and Malawi on the fourth position with 2 points.