Micium Mhone and Innocent Bokosi, and Chiukepo â€˜Jumboâ€™ Msowoya inspired their teams Blue Eagles and Escom United respectively to qualify for the Carlsberg Cup final on Saturday.
Mhone and Bokosi scored a goal each as the cops dismissed a strong-willed Evirom 2-0 at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe while Chiukepo struck the first as Escom beat Kabwafu by the same margin at Mzuzu Stadium.
It was mission accomplished for the trio who are among the six players that are expected to leave the country this morning for a national duty in Ugandaâ€™s capital Kampala to join the Flames ahead of their Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup Group C opening match against Rwanda tomorrowâ€”it certainly calls for a Carlsberg, doesnâ€™t it?
In the Lilongwe encounter, Evirom, the only lower league side to reach the semis of the showcase, bowed out with their heads held high after a superb performance and their solace was that their goalkeeper Blessings Kameza, was named the man-of-the-match and went away with K10 000 (about $33) for his feat from the sponsors Carlsberg Malawi.
On several occasions, the in-form Kameza leapt athletically to repel several close attempts from Eagles.
Eagles surged ahead barely three minutes into the game through Mhone with a fine volley that sizzled past unsuspecting Kameza and just when Evirom were pushing hard for an equaliser towards the very end, Bokosi claimed the second goal a minute into injury time after being put through by substitute Peter â€˜Shoesâ€™ Mgangira..
The cops coach De klerk Msakakuona was delighted with his side second final qualification within two years.
“I am very happy that we have reached the finals, Evirom gave us a big scare, especially in the second half. Now there is one more hurdle to clear, but we will prepare thoroughly for the final game against Escom,” said Msakakuona.
Last year, Eagles won the Standard Bank Cup after beating Moyale.
In Mzuzu, after a goalless first half, Chiukepo put Escom in the lead in the 72nd minute with a spectacular flying header from Bernard â€˜Benzoâ€™ Harawaâ€™s well-curled cross from the left flank.
Then Noel â€˜Amfumuâ€™ Mkandawire sealed their victory with a first time connection towards the very end.
Incidentally, both Chiukepo and Mkandawire are part of Escomâ€™s four-member caretaker coaching panel.
Said Chiukepo after the final whistle: “I am very happy that I have helped my team to qualify for the finals. It has been some time. I will now be heading to Uganda for a national duty a very happy man.”
Despite losing, Kabwafu played their lungs out and Charles Chilembo, Robert Chima and Dan Lusale were outstanding, but their efforts were either thwarted by the alert Escom defence or kept out by â€˜keeper Thomas Kalabvina.â€”additional reporting by Sebstian Nyirenda.