Malawi national football team coach Kinnah Phiri on Thursday insisted that the Flames benefited from Wednesdayâ€™s international friendly match against the Chinese Under-22 national side.
The Flames came from behind to force the Chinese side to a 2-2 draw.
“I strongly beg to differ with those that are saying the friendly match was not worth it because we benefited in terms of exposing the up-and-coming players. It should be noted that it is rare that we find such an opportunity of getting an international friendly whose better part of the costs are met [by the hosts],” said Kinnah.
He also said the match provided him a chance to assess some players. He blamed the Flames unsatisfactory performance on fatigue.
“We did not perform well due to fatigue because we did not have enough rest ahead of the match. The other thing that should be borne in mind is that we did not face purely an Under-22 side, it was a mixed side,” he said.
However, MBC commentator Chisomo Mwamadi said the Flames performed below par as the Chinese dominated the better part of the game.
Meanwhile, a China online www.chinastudygroup.com reported on Thursday that the Flames played an inexperienced and disjointed China Under-22 side. The report said the hostsâ€™ junior side regretted making too many mistakes due to inexperience and poor coordination.
“Due to the lack of understanding among players, there were too many mistakes. The entire first-half, the Under-22 had one shot on target. In the second-half, the team made some adjustments to score,” reads the website.
“Unfortunately, in the last minutes of the game in defending a direct free kick, players on the human wall did not jump allowing the ball to break into the net. The match eventually kicked into a draw.”
The hosts scored through Beijing Guon FC players Zhang Junzhe and zhe Zhang while Malawi first went ahead through Frank Banda before the hosts scored twice only for Joseph Kamwendo to snatch the game from jaws of defeat with an 87th minute free kick.
According to the report, the Chinese team, coached by Fu Bo, used the Malawi match to prepare for the Asian Youth Games qualifier to take place next month.
Flames are preparing for the forthcoming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup preliminary round qualifiers. Malawi travels to Kenya on June 2 for the preliminary round match.
The Kinnah Phiri side returns home today and goes straight into camp at Chiwembe Technical Centre, according to FAM commercial manager Casper Jangale.