Rarely does one promise to score and fulfil it, but Chiukepo Msowoya did it to perfection on his return for the Flames against the Mambas of Mozambique on Sunday at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
On a special day, when the country was celebrating its Independence Golden Jubilee, Chiukepo rose to the occasion and put the Flames ahead just five minutes into the game when he swung upfield to powerfully head home a well-curled freekick from John Banda.
However, the Mambas spoiled the party in the 64th minute when Manuel Fernandez cooly slotted the ball past helpless Flames goaltender McDonaldHarawa to force a one-all draw.
On the eve of the match, 26-year-old Chiukepo declared that he would mark his return by scoring and he did just that.
“I am going to score on Sunday, that is what I can promise the nation. God is on my side,” wrote Chiukepo in a Facebook message.
And soon after the match, he was a model of modesty and played down his feat.
“I am just happy that I was given a chance and I am thankful to the coaches. I believe God has given me another chance and this is the beginning of a new chapter. It could not have come at a better time than on a day when we were celebrating 50 years of independence and scoring against a national team from where I play, put an icing on the cake.
“I could have done better considering that I had one or two good chances that I could have converted, but sadly, it wasn’t to be and the Mozambicans equalised. It is part of the game I guess,” said Chiukepo.
He also conceded that it will not be easy to break into the starting 11.
“I have to acknowledge that the strikers that are there such as Robin [Ngalande], Gaba [Mhango] and Atusaye [Nyondo] are doing very well and then there is also an experienced striker [Esau] Kanyenda. I will have to sweat hard to break into the team, but we will see how it goes.
“Hopefully, the coaches will keep faith in me,” said the Costa Dol Sol forward.
Chiukepo rose to fame when he inspired the Flames to qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, after 26 years in the wilderness. He scored vital goals against Egypt, Guinea, DR Congo and Djibouti.
Meanwhile, Flames coach Young Chimodzi has hinted that he will make changes in the team ahead of the trip to Benin for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final preliminary round, first leg on July 20.
Chimodzi said this after the Flames were held to a one-all draw by Mozambique’s Mambas.
He said the game had given him and his deputy Jack Chamangwana a chance to choose players that will be considered for the Benin game.
“There will definitely be some changes as we look forward to the Benin game, especially with the coming in of professional players,” he said.