Zimbabwe players Willard Katsande and Kingstone Nkhata condemned Malawi fans’ rebellion against the Flames during their 1-4 loss at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday.
“It was a good game. I was just worried about the Malawi supporters. It is not on. When they started supporting us, obviously, we started feeling more comfortable on the ball,” said the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Katsande in a post-match interview.
The home fans gave up on Malawi when Kudakwashe Mahashi restored Zimbabwe’s lead which striker Atusaye Nyondo had earlier erased on the 50th minute, cancelling out Peter Moyo’s opener. Substitute Pasca Manhanga and Nkhata eventually killed off the warm-up game as a contest.
Nkhata, who also plays for Chiefs, commented on the reaction of the home fans for clapping hands and cheering the Zimbabweans whenever they struck the ball around.
“As a nation, they need to support their own team, even when it is down. Of course, it happens elsewhere, but it is bad,” Nkhata noted.
Malawi were without Robert Ng’ambi, Robin Ngalande, Limbikani Mzava and Gabadinho Mhango. It was coach Young Chimodzi and deputy Jack Chamangwana’s first game which has attracted mixed reactions, especially on social media.
Flames right-winger John CJ Banda on Thursday posted on his Facebook wall that “better lessons are learned the hard way.”
“Firstly, we feel very bad that we have lost. It is a disappointing result, but it was also bad to our fans supporting Zimbabwe. We felt disowned because they were the people to lift our spirits. We just have to say sorry to them,” said the Blue Eagles captain in an interview.
In a post-match interview, Chamagwana apologised to the fans for the embarrassing defeat. He called on the authorities to organise more friendly games. The Flames last played in September 2013.
Posting on Facebook wall, Big Bullets follower Enos Chatama said there was need for more friendlies and “more investment in the team preparations, then we can blame the coach”.
But another fan said even with the mere three days of preparations, it was unthinkable for the Flames to lose by such margin.
It was the worst defeat since the 2005 1-3 defeat by Botswana at the same venue.