Flames 2022 Afcon qualification hero Richard Mbulu says he he knew he would score the priceless goal against Uganda the moment right-back Stanley Sanudi floated the ball with precision.
The South Africa-based forward struck the decisive goal in the 15th minute, which had all the hallmarks of art, to punch the Flames’ ticket to Cameroon.
In an interview yesterday, Mbulu said the beauty of it all lay in the execution. His gaze was firmly fixed at the ball as it spun towards him at pace and then in a blur of action, there was that diving header.
He said: “The way Sanudi curled that ball was superb. When I saw the flight of the ball, I knew where I would meet it.
“I had to outpace my marker and when I got in touch with the ball, I knew that there was no way Uganda goalkeeper Dennis Onyango, brilliant as he is, was going to stop that header because it was executed to perfection.”
The Cranes captain, who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns in the South African top-flight, is rated the best goalkeeper on the continent, but such was the beauty of Mbulu’s delivery that it gave him not a prayer.
“I will live to cherish that goal for the rest of my life. Helping my nation to qualify for Afcon, makes me really proud.
“But I do not want to take the credit. It was a team effort. Everyone of us worked very hard for that victory and that is why I am saying the beauty lay in its creation by Sanudi,” he said.
Flames legend Esau Kanyenda said exceptional players shine in crucial moments, the way Mbulu did.
He said: “I have watched a video clip of the goal, it was beautiful. That said, credit should go to the entire team and the coaching panel for a job well done.”
Kanyenda, who was a key member of the Flames squad that qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2010, said Football Association of Malawi and the coaching panel should immediately start preparing for the actual tournament scheduled for January next year.