Perfect start for Flames: End Zambia’s 20 year dominance

Zambia 0
Malawi 1 (Katembe OG 18′)
The Flames have started their campaign at the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup on a high note, stunning defending champions Zambia’s Chipolopolo 1-0 at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban South Africa.
The victory on a day Malawi was celebrating its Independence Day, is the first for the Flames in 20 years, having failed to overcome  the neighbours in all competitions since 2003.
Zambia defender Aaron Katembe gifted Malawi the goal in the 18th minute after heading into his own net a perfectly  floated Robert Saizi corner kick.
However the 1-0 scoreline was not a true reflection of the match as the Flames created several scoring opportunities, but lacked precision in the box.
Flames interim coach Patrick Mabed named a first XI which had goalkeeper Brighton Munthwill while Mighty Mukuru Wanderers right back Stanley Sanudi who captain the side, partnered Silver Strikers’ Nickson Mwase in central defence alongside Dennis Chembezi, with FCB Nyasa Bullets’ Alick Lungu as leftback.
Civil Service United’s Lloyd Aron played just in front of the defence while Silver Strikers’ Chimwemwe Idana took up the attacking midfielder role.
Bangwe All Stars’ Robert Saizi was deployed on the right wing role while TNM Super League current joint top scorer Lanjesi Nkhoma player wide on the left wing.
Twin strikers Zanaco forward Chawanangwa Kaonga and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers’ Christopher Kumwembe player upfront.
From the first to the last whistle it was Malawi all over as the youthful squad took the game to the defending champions, and enjoyed possession.
The neighbours, who unlike the Flames featured their most experienced local players that are starring Africa Nations Championship, were not prepared for such a versatile youthful Flames squad and were second on the ball throughout the match.
It was Malawi’s show as the Flames went for jugular in search for an early goal.
Nkhoma’s 11th minute long range shot forced Zambia goalkeeper Lawrence Mulenga fumble before collecting the ball on second attempt.
In the 16th minute Kumwembe won a corner for Malawi and Saizi curled in a nice set piece and though a Zambian defendee was adjudged to have handled the ball, the referee awarded a corner kick.
Saizi stepped up to take the corner kick and this time two Zambians went for the ball, only for under pressure Katembe to head past his goalkeeper.
Malawi should have made it 2-0, just before half time when Saizi dismantled Zambia defence in the 43rd minute and delivered a pin point low cross after breaking down on the right wing, but Nkhoma’s first time connection in the area, went off target.
Zambia almost got an equaliser on the other end, but Munthali was equal to the job stretching to deny Moyela Libamba.
The second half saw the defending champions realising that they were facing the first defeat to Malawi in 20 years and tried to get their act together.
But brilliant defending from Man of the Match Lungu kept the Zambians at bay.
He frustrated Zambians’ attack, defusing every they threw to into Malawi defence.
Munthali also made two consecutive brilliant saves to deny the Zambians an equaliser.
At the last whistle, the Zambians could not believe they had lost to Malawi squad with 14 debutants, when for 20 years they had tormented Malawi with all its stars in the team.
Coach Mabedi poured praise on his young squad which did not camp for the tournament due to club commitments and only trained one day here in South Africa.
His counterpart Moses Sichone admitted that Malawi was a better side and deserved the victory.
Earlier, leaders Comoros beat Seychelles 3-0 to top the table.
Second placed Malawi’s next match is on Sunday against Seychelles while Zambia will face Comoros.
Malawi First XI
Munthali(GK), Sanudi (C), Chembezi, Aaron, Mwase, Lungu, Idana, Kumwembe (Chifundo Mphasi), Kaonga (Frank Willard), Nkhoma, Saizi (Lawrence Chaziya)


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