Gaba Scores For Flames

Flames striker Gabadinho Mhango helped Malawi earn a perfect start to 2021 African Cup of Nation (AFCON) qualification crusade as his lone goal in the 68th assured the home team maximum points at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

The timely goal, a solo effort from the Orlando Pirates striker came after Malawi had dominated play but failed to unlock the visitors defence.

Coach Meke Mwase made two changes to his usual squad replacing injured centre-back Charles Petro with Lucky Malata, who returned four years after retiring from national duty.

Gomezgani Chirwa also started in place of injured left back Precious Sambani.

Malata partnered Peter Cholopi while right back Stanley Sanudi took his usual post.

In midfield Gerald Phiri Jnr, captain John CJ Banda and Chimwemwne Idana got the nod.

Gaba, Richard Mbulu and Yamikani Chester completed Mwase’s 4-3-3 formation.

The formation helped Malawi to have a comfortable edge over the visitors. However, executing the plan in the final third proved a problem.

Though the Flames created plenty of scoring opportunities, getting it right was the team’s weakness and the visitors who packed the bus at the back, hoped to utilize it to earn a point from a possible draw.

Malawi’s Phiri Jnr, who was tightly marked by the Sudanese, was the first to shoot on goal.

But Sudan goalkeeper Majak Maling Mawith forced a corner from his volley. Mbulu also saw his effort inside the box tamed in the 55th minute.

Yamikani Chester also wasted a golden opportunity as he was seconds late to shoot after a nice through ball into the box from Idana.

Malawi also had penalty calls rejected after clear fouls on Chester, Mbulu and Gaba in the box in the second half.

The Sudanese closest chance was when they hit the post though Malawi goalkeeper Brighton Munthali also saved two weakly shots from strikers Stephen Pawaar Lony and Dominic Pretino.

Relief for Malawi came in the 68th minute when Munthali played a long pass to Gabadinho who controlled the ball before beating four defenders in the box and slotting beyond stretched Sudanese goalkeeper with a low shot.

Malawi top Group B with three points as the other pool members Uganda and Burkina Faso clash at Stade du 4 Août in Ouagadougou this evening.-(Story Curtsey Football Association of Malawi)