Malawi national football team, the Flames, yesterday proved they are perfecting their act when they beat Togo 1-0 in an international friendly at Salle Al Inbiaat Omnsport in Agadir, Morocco.
Mozambique-based striker Richard Mbulu, who was initially on the bench but started after coach Ronny van Geneugden changed his mind, proved he deserved a place in the first XI by opening his account for the Flames in the 14th minute.
It was the Flames’ first attempt at goal and Mbulu, with his right foot, coolly connected the low corner kick from South Africa-based midfielder Gerald Phiri Jnr.
Togo came close to equalising after forcing two corners, but Flames goalkeeper Charles Swini kept out attempts from Yenousi Guillaume and Issifou Bourahana.
Captain Limbikani Mzava also timely intercepted Kokou Mlapa’s attempt from close range.
By this time, there was not much from Togo star Emmanuel Adebayor, who was playing too deep.
But his presence was felt in the 26th minute when he shot over the bar from a free-kick at the edge of the box.
He tried to push upfront, but found it tough to penetrate the solid and firm back-four comprising Mzava, Stanley Sanudi, Dennis Chembezi and Limbikani Fodya.
The Flames played a sweet passing game with Gerald at the heart of their best moves and had a chance to double the lead in added time, but a move of utter beauty involving Gabadinho, Dalitso Sailesi and Sanudi led to Sailesi failing to beat ‘keeper Sabirou Djeri in one-on-one.
But the game turned temperamental with Peter Mponda, being sent to the stands in the 58th minute for questioning the referee’s decision.
Togo pressed for an equaliser and towards the end of the first-half, Ortega Jene headed wide a Kodjo Fo-do Laba cross.
Adebayor also saw his effort bounce the post minutes later.
The teams last met in July 2011 at Kamuzu Stasium in Blantyre and the Flames won 1-0.
The victory was the second for RVG in nine games. His other victory was against Comoros in African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
Togo coach Claude le Roy refused to comment and left the stadium in frustration.
RVG, on the other hand, applauded his charges for playing according to game plan.
He said: I am very happy with the performance. Our boys displayed mental strength and maturity from start to finish.
They completely reduced a world class player like Adebayor to an average player. We played according to game plan and we were very disciplined. It gives us a lot of hope going forward.”
Flames First XI: Swini, Sanudi, Mzava (C), Chembezi, Fodya, Chikoti Chirwa, Robert Ng’ambi, Sailesi, Mhango, Phiri Jnr, Mbulu.n