Malawi’s Flames yesterday went down 1-0 to hosts Zambia in an international friendly played at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
But assistant coach Lovemore Fazili has downplayed the loss, saying they have achieved what they targeted for the match.
Fazili, sitting in for head coach Meck Mwase, who is on internship in The Netherlands, employed a 4-2-3-1 system which works well when defending.
His first eleven had Brighton Munthali in goals while Peter Cholopi, stand-in captain Stanley Sanudi, Nixon Nyasulu and Precious Sambani played in defence.
Two holding midfielders Chimango Kayira and Chikoti Chirwa congested the midfield while the wings were manned by Peter Banda and MiciumMhone.
Chimwemwe Idana played as an attacking midfielder just behind lone striker Hassan Kajoke.
But still the Flames could not hold the hosts who scored through Napsa striker Collins Sikombe in the 21st minute.
Despite the loss Fazili said they had achieved their objective of trying out the 4-2-3-1 system of play ahead of upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
Malawi is preparing for back-to-back qualifier against Burkina Faso on March 26 in Ouagadougou and March 31 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Just like Malawi, newly-appointed Zambia coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s featured local players that included the 2019 Cosafa Under-20 player of the tournament and Nkana midfielder Patrick Gondwe, Nkwazi striker Emmanuel Chabula, Kabwe Warriors striker Jimmy Ndhlovu, Zesco United’s defenders Adrian Chama, Simon Silwimba, Mwila Phiri and Clement Mwape.
The former Orlando Pirates coach wanted to use the game to prepare for a three-nation mini tourney involving Zambia, Uganda and Mali in Kampala on March 17 and March 19 respectively.
Zambia will also play Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on March 21 in transit to Lusaka to prepare for their 2021 Afcon Group H qualifier doubleheader against Botswana at home on March 26 and away on March 29.