Despite a 5-0 demolition of Zimbabwe yesterday, Malawi’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals at the Cosafa Under-17 Youth Championship are still slim following Angola’s second successive win over Swaziland.
After going down 0-1 to Angola in their opening Group C showdown on Friday, Malawi paraded an awesome show of force against the Young Warriors at St. Francois Xavier Stadium in Mauritius.
But Angola, who thrashed Swaziland 4-0 in the other Group C match, look certain to top the group as they have six points from two matches.
The solace though is that even if Malawi fail to top the group they can still qualify as the best runner-up.
Nevertheless, coach DeKlerk Msakakuona said yesterday’s victory gives him confidence that they can sneak through to the semi-finals of the regional showpiece.
In a post-match interview from the Indian Ocean island nation yesterday, Msakakuona said: “This was a must-win game for us to remain in contention for a semi-final slot and credit should go to the boys for putting up a spirited display.
“Now we have to win our last game against Swaziland [eSwatini] on Wednesday [tomorrow] and see what will be in store for us.”
Malawi are now on second position. They are tied on three points with Swaziland but the Junior Flames have a better goal difference.
Malawi’s victory was a repeat of last year’s edition when they clobbered the Young Warriors by the same margin at the same stage of the tournament.
In a match monitored on Kwese Television, midfielder Patrick Mwaungulu, who was named man-of-the-match, was the conductor of the Junior Flames’ orchestra with a vintage display that was spiced up by a brace.
He epitomised this contest as well as greasing the wheels of industry with his pin-point passes.
Mwaungulu drew first blood in the seventh minute before Tatenda M’balaka doubled the lead in the 24th minute.
M’balaka took advantage of a defensive lapse and, like a sneak thief, he ghosted in to score past helpless Young Warriors’ ‘keeper Tendayi Mapondera.
The Junior Flames went for recess with a 2-0 lead, but were not done yet.
Captain Francis Mtoso made it 3-0 in the 56th minute to put the game beyond Zimbabwe’s reach.
Then Mwaungulu struck the fourth in the 77th minute before Emmanuel Mitole closed the score-sheet two minutes later. It was game over!
Striker Gift Jossam probably did not have an ounce of luck as he had four clear chances, but failed to score.
Malawi’s line-up: Kennedy Nankhaima, Kesten Simbi, Blessings Mpokera, Mitole, Mwaungulu, Mtoso (Chimwemwe Namwiyo), Vitumbiko Nyirenda, Jossam, Patrick Mponda, Lovemore Mbeta (Tathedwa Willard).