Flames caretaker coach Eddington Ng’onamo and one of his deputies, Patrick Mabedi, have lamented continued lack of firepower upfront in the countdown to Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Namibia’s Brave Warriors.
The duo said this in the wake of the Flames 1-0 loss to Botswana’s Zebras in an international strength-testing match on Tuesday night at the University of Botswana Stadium in Gaborone.
It was the same old song as the Flames created many chances, but sadly, failed to make them count. This was the case at some point last year during former coach Kinnah Phiri’s era when strikers played over 10 games without scoring.
It was the first game for the recently appointed caretaker coaching panel, but both Ng’onamo and Mabedi played down the loss, insisting the result was not a true reflection of the game.
Said Ng’onamo: “The result was by no means a true reflection of the game because we dominated the match.
“However, I noted that we still lack the firepower upfront. We created a number of good scoring opportunities, especially in the first half, but we failed to make them count. We need players who are composed and sharp in front of goal.”
He defended the move to replace players from different positions, saying it was one way of trying several options and combinations.
Mabedi shared his boss’ views, saying apart from the Flames’ failure to take their chances, the Zebras’ goaltender was outstanding.
“I would say their goalkeeper was outstanding because he thwarted several of our attempts.
“I am absolutely certain that if we had players such as Joseph [Kamwendo], Zicco [Mkanda] and Atusaye [Nyondo], the result would have been different because we created a number of chances, especially in the first half. Botswana only had two notable chances and made use of one,” said Mabedi.
The former Flames captain paid tribute to debutantes and singled out midfielder Young Chimodzi Jnr and goalkeeper Owen Chaima.
“Tawonga was superb, Owen was firm between the posts and when Lucky Malata was thrown in, he was very impressive. Chimango was also at the hub of our moves….simply put, the performance of the entire team was impressive,” said Mabedi.
He declared that the Flames will come out victors against Namibia, saying: “One thing I liked was that we were able to keep possession and knock the ball around.”
Ng’onamo and Mabedi said the soccer fraternity should not read much into Tuesday’s result.
“We didn’t have some players and, as I said, we were trying several options and combinations,” said Ng’onamo.
According to media reports from Gaborone, the Flames twice came close to scoring in the first half through Robert ‘Baggio’ Ng’ambi and Gastin Simkonda, but their attempts were thwarted by the alert Zebras’ goalminder.
The Flames made a number of substitutions in the second half, resting recalled veteran winger Fischer Kondowe, Chimodzi Jnr and Douglas Chirambo for Gabadinho Mhango, Malata and Peter Wadabwa.
Gabadinho also came close soon after his introduction, but missed from close range as his search for a first international goal continued.
The lone goal of the match came in the 69th minute through Jackie Mothathego.