Tactics partly had a say on the Flamesâ€™ 2-0 loss to Rwanda on Monday at the Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup, but overall, off-form players betrayed coach Kinnah Phiri.
In this opener, at Mandela National Stadium, in Kampala, Uganda, the Flames were tactically naÃ¯ve, but there still were two chances to salvage something. Unfortunately, they both fell on off-form Green Harawa.
â€œWe even failed to connect the ball next to the goal,â€ Kinnah told SuperSport television.
Such terrible wastage was hardly surprising. Few can remember when Harawa last scored at Silver Strikers. Harawaâ€™s partner, Chiukepo Msowoya, left the pitch with hardly any shot on target.
Yet, Msowoya, among seven players who featured in October 13 game against Ghana, finished the Cecafa game while Super Leagueâ€™s third leading scorer Rodrick Gonani kicked his heels on the bench. Talk of rebuilding.
Reading and defusing Rwandaâ€™s game plan was not what Kinnah did. The formation never changed. There were mere striker-for-striker and midfielder-for-midfielder substitutions while his Rwanda counterpart Sredojovic â€˜Michoâ€™ Milutin kept on changing and reacting.
â€œSensing that two strikers would do a better job than one, Micho replaced midfielder Jean Claude Iranzi with attacker Jerome Sina on the half hour-mark and the move paid off with Mugiranezaâ€™s goal,â€ reads www.newtimes.co.rw .
When Malawi came firing on all cylinders, especially after off-form right-winger Benard Harawa was substituted for Micium Mhone, Micho told his boys to sit back and hit the Flames on the break. Rwandaâ€™s second goal, in the 79th minute by Haruna Niyonzima, was from a counterattack.