Visitors Zambia turned into ‘hosts’ on Wednesday when their supporters eclipsed Kamuzu Stadium during the Under-23 Afcon qualifier which Malawi lost 1-0.
About 100 Zambians clad in their national colours of green, red, black and orange made a deafening noise with music instruments such as drums, trumpets and trombones.
Once they started singing, the whole stadium became a cacophony of noise, completely silencing the home supporters.
Zambia Under-23 coach Beston Chambeshi applauded the supporters for their feat.
“We owed the victory to the 12th player,” he said in post match interviews.
Even one of Malawi’s vocal supporters, Yona Malunga, confessed that they were no match for the Zambians.
“Munaziwona zida zawo zija? Tingafanane nawo? Zodulatu. Olo ng’oma zawo sizowambatu, [You saw the instruments they were using, they are very expensive. Even their drums are not the locally made ones] we use here,” he said.
Malunga said he would ask Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to help the supporters travel to Zambia to cheer the Under-23 national team in the return leg set for Sunday in Lusaka.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the football governing body is ready to support the Flames fans.
“There is a lot that has to be done in terms of how we support the national teams. We need to bring a lot of life and entrainment into how they cheer the teams,” he said.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) vice-president Rix Mweemba said they travel with the supporters whenever the team is playing, depending on availability of funds.
“As for this trip, it’s just across the border so it was easy to come in such large numbers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mpira M’mudzi Mwathu, an initiative mobilising supporters to travel to Lusaka to cheer the Under-23 team, emphasised the need for the 12th player.
“The trip is on. We believe with the necessary support we can beat them in Lusaka. We are encouraging people to join the trip. We now have opened the other two categories. Silver category is at K60 000 and it covers transport to and from Lusaka and a match ticket while bronze which is at K50 000 covers transport only,” said the groups patron Chimango Munthali, who is also National Youth Football Association chairperson.
Malawi need to beat Zambia at least 2-0 to proceed to the last qualifying round where they will meet the winner between Burundi and Congo Brazzaville.
The two sides drew 0-0 in Brazzaville.