The odds were against the Flames on Monday at the ongoing 2012 Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup as the good start they relished went up in smoke at Mandela National Stadium in Kampala, Uganda.
Poor Flames lost 2-0 to Rwandaâ€™s Amavubi, but coach Kinnah Phiri was hopeful of recovering in subsequent Group C games against Zanzibar and Eritrea.
This is unbelievable. In a group that has mickey mouse teams of the continent, the Flames lie bottom. They were hopeless as they slumped to 122nd ranked Rwanda.
Two spectacular goalsâ€”one in each halfâ€”ensured that the Rwandese bagged full points.
Frustration was prevalent on coach Kinnah Phiriâ€™s face, who appeared dejected after the final whistle.
He attributed the loss to fluffed chances, in particular diminutive Green Harawa who missed two clear chances as desperation took its toll.
â€œWe struggled in the first-half, but we reorganised ourselves after interval only that we were guilty of terrible wastage in particular Green Harawa, who missed two clear chances,â€ said Kinnah in a telephone interview from Kampala.
But the ever upbeat Kinnah insisted that his side still have a chance of sneaking to the quarter-finals.
â€œWe still have a chance if we can win our remaining games against Eritrea and Zanzibar,â€ he said.
The Flames take on Eritrea in their second game on Thursday.
Rwandaâ€™s first goal, that came in the 37th minute, had all the hallmarks of art.
It was a move of utter beauty that originated from left-winger Mwemere Ngirishati. He turned George Nyirenda inside out. His through ball resulted in a goal melee and from the rebound, APR striker John Baptiste Mugiraneza shot past Flames goaltender, Charles Swini.
The Flames came into the second-half with renewed purpose, but twice Harawa unbelievably failed to connect the ball home with only Rwandan goalkeeper Jean Claude Ndori at his mercy.
Harawa was later taken off stage for debutant Innocent Bokosi who tried to breathe a new lease of life into the Flames game aided by Joseph Kamwendoâ€™s effective play, but it was too little, too late.
Rwanda then put the game beyond Flamesâ€™ reach with 11 minutes to full-time through Haruna Nyozimaâ€™s spectacular long-range missile.
Rwanda would have scored more goals had it not been for Swiniâ€™s classic display between the posts.
The Flames central midfield was ineffective and Chimango Kayira, Bernard Harawa and Patrick Masanjala were simply not there.
Flames line-up: Swini, Foster Namwela, Moses Chavula, Steve Chagoma, George Nyirenda, Bernard (Micium Mhone), Masanjala, Kamwendo, Kayira, Green (Innocent Bokosi) and Chiukepo.