Malawi has finished as runners-up to South Africa after going down 3-0 on post-match penalties at the 2023 CAF Schools Championship Cosafa Zone Qualifiers.
South Africa had to come from behind through Rhys Ferguson to cancel Malawi’s lead from Okestar Kanyendas’ 19th minute strike.
In post-match penalties Malawi missed their three penalties as Amos Nyirenda struck the cross bar while Tinga Nkhoma and James Msongole saw their spot kicks saved by goalkeeper Sabrie Losper.
Malawi coach Moses Chimbetete said the loss to South Africa was painful as his charges dominated the game, only to lose concentration and give away the equaliser.
“It was just a lack of communication. It was a lapse in concentration. The defenders were failing to clear the ball up until somebody just slotted the ball behind the defence.
“The goalkeeper saved the first shot and the defenders were expected to clear the ball, but they were ball-watching. They failed to clear the ball.”
“But it’s part of the game. I salute my boys. They played very well. We dominated the game in the first 40 minutes only that we didn’t utilise a lot of chances that we had.
“So that’s what football does. If you don’t score you get punished. We lost on penalties but I salute my boys. They never lost a game in normal time.”
Chimbetete thanked CAF for the tournament, saying it had exposed Malawi’s raw talent in schools.
He said: “We have enormous talent in Malawi. If we nurture these boys, we are going to have a very good future in Malawi football.
“Most importantly, the national team itself because these are feeders for the under-17 national football team as well as the senior team, the Flames.”
Meanwhile, hosts Zimbabwe won bronze after they stunned Namibia 1-0 courtesy of El Shaddai Sadomba goal.
In girls category South Africa completed a double after a 3-1 victory over Botswana in the final. Mozambique finished third after beating Namibia 4-0 in play offs.
The champions in both girls and boys category will reverie $100,000 while runners up will cart home $75,000 and third placed $50,000.