NUMEROUS Malawians took pain relieving drugs following yesterday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat by their national side to minnows Mauritius.
The COSAFA Cup encounter was played in Polokwane City, South Africa.
People in Malawi had high hopes before the group B gameat the Old Peter Mokaba stadium, but Mauritiushad a different approach all together.
The Flames coach, Ron Van Geneugden entrusted Brighton Munthali in goals and a his line of defense was marshalled by Captain John Lanjesi, Gomegzani Chirwa and theWanderers’ duo of Peter Cholopi and Precious Sambani.
It was a good combination on paper, but Mauritius’ Damien Balisson, capitalised on the defense’s jittery and snatched the only goal of the game in the 15th minute of the first half.
The Flames’ front line which had Robin Ngalande, Richard Mbulu and Gastin Simkonda missed several opportunities to kill the game.
The introduction of Nyasa Big Bullets’ forward Chiukepo Msowoya stimulated the team as he gave Les Dodos goalkeeper some tough time.
Winger Dalitso Sailesi, sent some thunderous shots towards the goal in the second half but to no avail until he was replaced by Bullets’Precious Phiri, who brought life into the team but failed to find the back of the net.
The surprising thing is that the Flames had a better ball possession of 65 percent.
Msowoya, Ngalande and company had better chances but squandered them all.
Statistics of the match show that the Flames made 26 attempts, 11 wereon target while Les Dodos managed only three.
Going by history, Les Dodos have been whipping boys to the Malawi team.
The last time Malawilost to Mauritius was in 1976 during an African Cup of Nations qualifier, which ended 3-2.
Les Dodos went into the game as underdogs but they proved pundits wrong as they fought to the last whistle.
James Sangala, team manager for Malawi, conceded the defeat butas usual claimed that the boys “played well.”
The former Flames defender was quick to point his finger on the strikers for their carelessness in front of goal.
He, however, expressed optimism the team will do better considering that at last year’s tournament Malawi beat their opponents of the night by a goal to nil.
Malawians are inevitably furious and calling for the removal of RVG.
After the game yesterday, social media forums was loaded with insults which were directed to the Belgian tactician.
On Whatsapp, supporters are faulting his selection of players.
Just this morning, in a public bus to from Limbe town heading to Blantyre CBD, angry Malawianswere talking about the Flames while referring the famous Robert Chiwamba, who in his poem Flames Siidzamvalaunches a mocking attacks against the national side.
The calls for the coach to step down started way before the team went to the tournament.
Fans are not satisfied with the performance of the expatriate coach,but FootballAssociation of Malawi, FAM, has always sided with him saying he is on a rebuilding process.
Pundits say it will be good for the fans to allow Malawi to focus on the ongoing tournament and assess the team’s performance of the technical panel, afterwards.
Before the Malawi-Mauritius game in Group B, Botswana’s Zebras crowbarred Angola 2-1 at the same Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Tomorrow Malawi will take on the Zebras at Seshego Stadium.