Still In It Malawi

Malawi on Monday played a goalless draw against Burkina Faso in an action packed 2022 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

After losing 3-1 in Ouagadougou on Thursday last week, Mwase made six changes to the starting line up.

Goalkeeper Brighton Munthali, Chikoti Chirwa, Yamikani Chester, Chimwemwe Idana, Schumacher Kuwali and Stanley Sanudi, who started in the first leg, were on the bench.

The coach started Nyasa Big Bullets’ goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe in goals, Peter Cholopi and Dennis Chembezi in central defence, Precious Sambani and Nixon Nyasulu as full backs.

Charles Petro was featured as a holding midfielder with Nyasulu and Sambani operating on the wings while captain John CJ Banda and Gerald Phiri Jnr were deployed in central midfield.

Hassan Kajoke and Peter Banda partnered Richard Mbulu, who was used as the lone striker in attack.

Though Malawi had several scoring opportunities, Mwase’s charges lacked the killer punch.

Mbulu saw his goal-bound shot tipped over the bar by Burkina Faso goalkeeper Abdul Razak Traole just two minutes into the match played without supporters.

He returned five minutes later to try a close range shot inside the box which the goalkeeper saved for a corner.

Later, a long range shot from Sambani missed the upright by whisker as Malawi pressed for a goal.

Malawi were also denied a penalty after Mbulu was brought down in the box and instead the referee from Djibouti Souleiman Ahmed Djamal showed the Baroka FC striker a yellow card just before half time.

After recess Mwase made three substitutions pulling out captain CJ Banda, Peter Banda and Hassan Kajoke for Yamikani Chester, Duncan Nyoni and Vincent Nyalulu.

He also brought in Rafiq Namwela for Nixon Nyasulu while Petro was also pulled out due to a shoulder injury and replaced by Chimwemwe Idana.

The visitors were also frustrated by Kakhobwe more especically, the attacking pack of Dramane Nikiena, Bertrand Traore, Lassina Traore and Cyrille Bayala.

Bertrand had an opportunity to help his team collect maximum points when he beat the entire Malawi defence only to be stopped in his tracks by Kakhobwe.

Mbulu should have wrapped up the day with a superb finish but he was brought down again by the goalkeeper as the ball was cleared for a corner which eventually was the last action of the match.

Malawi now has four points. Group B leaders Burkina Faso have eight points followed by Uganda, who lost 1-0 to South Sudan, with seven points.

South Sudan is at the bottom of the table with three points.

Malawi’s last two qualifiers are away to South Sudan and at home against Uganda.

Mwase said despite the draw, Malawi can still qualify for Cameroon finals.

” It was a great game for both teams. It’s just unfortunate that we failed to score regardless of the number of chances that we have had but the boys had a good game than the one we played away.

“What we need now is good preparation to win the remaining two games with South Sudan and Uganda. If only we can win our remaining two qualifiers anything can happen,” he said.

Bertrand Traore bemoaned his team failure to get goals in a balanced match.

“Today was not my day. But that’s football. It’s a good result for both teams. But it’s a good result away from home,” the Aston Villa star said.

Lineup: Ernest Kakhobwe, Nickson Nyasulu (Raffick Namwera 70′) , Dennis Chembezi, Peter Cholopi, Precious Sambani, Charles Petro (Chimwemwe Idana 81′), Gerald Phiri, John Banda (Yamikani Chester 56′), Peter Banda (Vincent Nyangulu 56′), Hassan Kajoke(Duncan Nyoni 56′) Richard Mbulu.


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