On his 24th birthday, defender Miracle Gabeya last night scored the lone goal which boosted the Flames’ hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Cosafa Castle Cup.
Malawi edged a strong-willed Mauritus 1-0 in a tight Group B affair of the Cosafa Castle Cup at Independence Stadium in Windhoek, Namibia.
To crown it all, Gabeya was named man-of-the-match and went away with $250 (about K178 750).
The Flames must now win their last group match against group leaders Lesotho’s Likuena tomorrow to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The Flames tie at six points with Group B leaders Lesotho who made it two wins out of two matches with a 2-0 victory over youthful Angola. However, Lesotho have a one-goal aggregate advantage over the Flames.
After a fruitless first half coupled with pushing and shoving, the Nyasa Big Bullets towering centre-back rose to nod in a Gerald Phiri Jnr corner kick just a minute into the second half.
With Angola and Mauritius out of the equation, the last group match between Lesotho and Malawi will decide the pool’s winner.
The Flames needed to score more goals in the encounter, but a much improved Mauritius side frustrated Malawi’s efforts—just as they did against continental giants Ghana in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in which the West Africans laboured to a 2-0 victory after being held to a barren first half.
Mauritus threatened to stun the Flames, but goalkeeper Charles Swini was called to duty to save the situation twice in one on one situations.
Coach Ernest Mtawali said the last group game against Lesotho would be a tough one.
“We will have to beat Lesotho at all cost,” Mtawali said. “It’s going to be a tough one indeed.”
In Group A, Swaziland soared to the top after an emphatic 4-0 victory over Seychelles at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Monday.
The win, coupled with a 0-0 draw between Zimbabwe and Madagascar, means Swaziland top the pool on goal-difference from the Malagasy.