Malawi need to overcome e-Swatini (Swaziland) at least with two goals and avoid conceding today at Stade Anjalay in Mauritius, if they are to make it to the 2018 Cosafa Under-17 Championship semi-finals as best runners-up.
The battle for the second-best slot is now between the hosts Mauritius, Malawi and Swaziland after yesterday’s fixtures.
Namibia have qualified from Group A as winners after beating Botswana 1-0 yesterday while Mauritius are runners-up with six points.
South Africa booked a place in the semi-finals after beating Zambia 2-1, consequently, eliminating the defending champions from the second-best battle since they have finished at five points.
In Group C the battle for the second sport is between Malawi and eSwatini (Swaziland), going into the final day of the group matches.
The winner in this encounter will join the race for the second best slot in which Mauritius lead the second-placed teams table with six points after routing Seychelles 6-1 yesterday.
The hosts have scored seven goals, conceded two and have a goal difference of five.
Malawi is second with three points having won 5-0 against Zimbabwe.
The Junior Flames have scored six goals and conceded one and have a goal difference of four.
This means Malawi need to beat eSwatini at least 2-0 to catch up with Mauritius at six points and top the runners-up table on goal difference.
Coach DeKlerk Msakakuona yesterday said they would aim at finishing on a high note.
“We recovered in time to beat Zimbabwe 5-0. We hope we can keep that tempo and finish on a high note as well. Hopefully, we can then make it to the semi-finals as best runners-up,” he said.
Former Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda, who is now Cosafa deputy chief executive officer responsible for competitions, said Malawi’s fate is in their own hands.
“So, the Malawi team’s destiny is purely in their hands. They just have to step up the gear and beat Swaziland [eSwatini], then they will be through,” he said.
According to rules and regulations of the competition, the second-best will be determined based on total number of points attained.
“Should two teams finish on an equal number of points, the results will be determined by (1) Greater number of points obtained in the matches between the teams concerned, (2) Goal difference resulting from group matches between the teams concerned. (3) Greater number of goals scored in all the group matches between the teams concerned. (4) Goal difference in all group matches. (5) Fair play point system in which the number of yellow cards are evaluated. (6) Drawing of lost by the Cosafa organising committee,” read the rules and regulations.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda noted that though Malawi made life difficult for themselves after losing to Angola, they still stand a chance of making it.
“Everything is possible. We just need to thoroughly beat the Swazis,” he said. n