Goalkeeper Lemani Nthala was the hero for Kamuzu Barracks (KB) yesterday after saving two penalties to help his team beat Epac FC 4-2 in post-match penalties and reach the quarter-finals of the Fisd Challenge Cup.
Regulation time failed to produce a winner as the two teams played out a barren draw at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
Dan Ziba, Pempho Kansichiri, Zinjani Yona and Manasseh Chiyesa converted the spot-kicks for KB while Mude Jeffrey and Amadou Makawa netted for Epac. Francis Mkonda and Lyton Kaponda had there penalties saved.
At the MDC Stadium in Blantyre, Dwangwa United also progressed to the quarter-finals after beating Fayama FC 4-2.
Embarrassment and shame characterised the Fisd Challenge Cup game involving Epac FC and KB at Civo.
The two teams entered the pitch with 10 players each instead of 11. Ben Hojani for KB and Chiyeso Zoya for Epac were just hovering on the touchline, seemingly afraid to enter the pitch as juju beliefs took centre stage, attracting jeers from the spectators.
Referee John Phiri seemed confused as the drama continued to unfold on the touchline for nearly seven minutes.
On the pitch, the game was a big yawn with no organised play from both teams.
The best chance though came nine minutes into play when Epac’s Innocent Tanganyika received a pass from Zoya and made a solo run into KB’s territory, but his resultant grounder rebounded off the post.
KB had their moments too and their leading scorer Chiyesa headed over the bar from close range following a flick from Harvey Nkacha in the 15th minute.
KB coach Billy Phambala was visibly relieved after the penalty shoot-out.
“It was a complicated game. Anthufe timachokera kumudzi zikhulupiriro zimachuluka [We come from different backgrounds with different cultural beliefs]. Most of us are from the village and there are a lot of beliefs. It was a hurdle playing Epac,” he said.
On the other hand, his Epac counterpart Audlow Makonyola blamed the loss on missed chances.