The Malawi beach soccer national team on Tuesday progressed to the finals of the four-nation Copa Dar-es-Salaam Tournament in Tanzania despite a 1-5 loss to Zanzibar in their last preliminary stage match.
Thanks to their 6-5 triumph over hosts Tanzania and a 7-4 win against Uganda in their two opening matches, Malawi qualified for the finals after tying on six points with Zanzibar.
As we went to press last evening, the Malawi team was, for the second time, meeting Zanzibar in a battle for ultimate glory.
Tanzania, who beat Zanzibar 4-3 in their opener, on Tuesday suffered a 5-6 defeat by Uganda to tie on three points. The two sides were engaged in fight for the third-place at press time.
Malawi coach Stereo Gondwe said they were unfazed by their loss to Zanzibar as they did not feature a strong squad after knowing they had already made the grade for the finals prior to the encounter.
“We knew we had already qualified for the finals so we used this particular game to sample other players that were on the bench in our previous two matches. This was also a tactic to keep our strong first line-up away from fatigue ahead of the final this afternoon,” he said.
Before the final, Vanasho Malunga was Malawi’s leading scorer with five goals followed by James Chikoka (four), Isaac Kajamo (two) and Chikumbutso Sharpman (one).
This was the first time in two years that the national team was participating in an international event as they last did it in 2015 when they finished as runners-up during the inaugural Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Championship in Seychelles following a 4-9 defeat by Madagascar in the finals.