Half a loaf is better than no bread, so the Flames can thank the gods that they will be coming back home with a point after holding Guinea’s Syli Nationale to a goalless draw yesterday in Conakry.
Coach Ernest Mtawali made a few changes to the squad that drew one-all against Sierra Leone. in an international friendly on Tuesday.
He maintained Brighton Munthali in goal as well as the back four
of Stanley Sanudi, Harry Nyirenda, Limbikani Mzava and Francis Mlimbika
The only changes were in the midfield where Mozambique based holding midfielder Chimango Kaira and John banda, who missed the friendly, reclaimed their positions.
They partnered Joseph Kamwendo and Micium Mhone while Ng’ambi maintained his role just behind Chiukepo Msowoya who played alone up front.
Mtawali said he was satisfied with the team’s performance.
“We managed to defend well. We played two holding midfielders and Chiukepo as a lone striker and I think the tactic worked. The players worked very hard and at least we should have got a goal from a counter-attack,” the coach said in an interview from Conakry.
He, however, said the approach would be different when the Flames hosts Guinea in the return leg on Tuesday.
“Guinea are a good team, but playing at home we have a better chance of beating them,” said Mtawali.
The stalemate means the Flames can cling to some hope that they just might make it to 2017 African Cup of Nations final if they can beat Guinea in the return leg on Tuesday thanks to the other Group L members Swaziland and Zimbabwe playing out a one-all draw in Swaziland.
The two results mean the status quo remains as it was—Guinea and Malawi anchor the four-team group with two points each just below Zimbabwe and and leaders Swaziland who have five points.
Swaziland scored first through Mbabane Swallows midfielder Felix Badenhorst before Zimbabwe equalised through a Silhangu own goal.
In other qualifiers, Mohamed Salah scored in injury time to rescue a point for Egypt away to Nigeria as the Pharaohs maintained top position in Group G.
But Ivory Coast moved to the top of Group I following a 1-0 win over Sudan from Gervinho goal.
Tunisia won 1-0 against Togo to go top of Group A while in Group M, Mauritania beat The Gambia 2-1.