On an incredible Saturday afternoon of frayed nerves and unrelenting drama, Malawi’s Flames today revived their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations dreams in spectacular fashion following their shock 2-0 win over Mali’s Eagles at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
“It was a great performance for Malawi,” Walter Nyamilandu, Football Association of Malawi president toldNation Online after the win.
Following the win the Flames’ date with destiny will be determined this Wednesday when they face Ethiopia’s Antelopes in their final Group B qualifier.
Goals from Esau ‘Black Mamba’ Kanyenda and Robert Ng’ambi were enough to make Mali wilt.
The win is a sweet revenge for the Flames who suffered a similar defeat in the first leg in Bamako in October.
The Flames need to win their final game against Ethiopia to qualify for the African safari for the third time. A draw is still an option, but it would be a tall order.
It really couldn’t have been sweeter on a sun-bathed afternoon as the Flames turned on the magic against a side ranked 51 places above them to breathe a new lease of life into their campaign.
Inspirational midfielder Robert Ng’ambi drew first blood in the 64th minute when he beautifully complemented substitute Gastin Simkonda’s fine curler to send the home fans into delirium.
From then on, the Flames, led by captain Joseph Kamwendo, Chimango Kayira, winger Fischer Kondowe were a marvel to watch with their spellbindingly beautiful pass-and-move play which led to battle-hardened forward Esau Kanyenda claiming the winner in the 84th minute.
The beauty of it all, lay in the creation, the way fellow veteran Fischer Kondowe made the goal, was pure genius.
He made a solo run on the right, a deft touch with his right foot, all this done in motion with a defender on his shoulder, gave him control of the ball and his pace swept him past the defender and then played it over to Kanyenda who did the rest to perfection with a powerful header from close to beat Mali’s goalkeeper Oummar Sissiko.
Flames coach Young Chimodzi and captain Joseph Kamwendo vowed to complete the campaign with a win in Ethiopia.
Said Chimodzi: “As it is, the fight for the remaining slot in the group is still open to the remaining three teams and we have to fight for a win in our last match.”
Kamwendo said: “Our decisive game will be against Ethiopia and we’ll fight for every inch of the way.”