Malawi Under-17 National Football Team were held to a one-all draw in their opening Cosafa Youth Championship match in Maseru, Lesotho yesterday just when it appeared they would bag full points.
The football tournament is also part of the Region 5 Games in which Malawi are taking part in eight disciplines, namely athletics, boxing, judo, netball, taekwondo, tennis, swimming and visually impaired athletes.
In yesterday’s Group B match monitored on Cosafa Television, the predominantly new look Malawi side took a fifth minute lead through Madalitso Mwachumu, who was also named man-of-the-match.
The beauty of it was in the execution. He displayed individual brilliance to the get to the end of a long clearance from the back which caught their opponents off-guard.
Mwachumu then displayed composure to beat two Botswana defenders before slotting the ball home.
The Young Zebras levelled the scores in the 76th minute through a penalty awarded after a Malawian defender handled in the box.
Up stepped Phillip Kaku to convert the spot-kick.
Malawi face Angola on Sunday in their last group match.
The predominantly new look Malawi side looked organised in all departments, especially in midfield in which they outplayed their opponents.
Coach DeklerkMsakakuona, said while he was hoping for a winning start, he nevertheless applauded his charges for putting up a good fight.
“It was unfortunate that we conceded a penalty towards the end. It’s part of the game. There’s more to come as the boys played well,” he said.
On his part, Botswana coach Teboho Mothusi said Malawi were outstanding for the better part of the match.
He said:” It was a very difficult match. Malawi came to the party, especially in the first half. But at half time, I told my boys to be calm.”
Meanwhile, the rest of Malawi’s team to the Games, led by Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama, left yesterday.
In a statement, Malawi National Council of Sports said the delegation split because of logistical reasons.
Reads part of the statement: “The first group left on Tuesday [November 30] using a chartered airline from Lesotho.
“The intenion of Sports Council was to use Malawi Airlines, but this could not materialise due to logistical challenges which led to the delay of the football team’s departure for Lesotho,” he said.