(Malawi wins 1-0 on aggregate)
Malawi National team, ‘Flames’ has finally made in the second round of the 2022 Qatar World Cup after a 1-0 aggregate victory over Botswana’s Zebras in the preliminary round.
Their first leg in the preliminary round was played in Francistown, Botswana last Saturday which ended goalless before a Gerald Phiri Jnr’s 80th minute spot kick on Tuesday at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre sent Malawi into the next round.
Frames have now joined 14 other teams that have made it to the group stage alongside 26 others who were exempted.
The 40 teams will be pooled into 10 groups of four teams in which they will battle it out with group winners qualifying for the third round.
The 10 teams will then be paired against each other to identify five teams who will qualify for the Qatar finals.
After a goalless draw in Botswana in the first leg, only an outright victory guranteed the Flames qualification.
Meke Mwase head coach to the Flames maintained the first XI that drew 0-0 in the first leg.
He trusted Brighton Munthali in goals with the back four of Peter Cholopi, Stanely Sanudi, Charles Petro and Precious Sambani.
Yamikani Chester played on his usual right wing while Phiri Jnr was on the left flank.
Chimwemwe Idana and Captain John CJ Banda partnered in central midfield while Gabadinho Mhango and Richard Mbulu played upfront.
The system worked well in the opening minutes of the game as Malawi assaulted the visitors at will.
Gabadinho’’s free kick after a foul on Mbulu from 35 metres zoomed off target in the 8th minute.
Malawi messed up two good chances after some good work from Chetser who laid it for CJ and Mbulu but both failed to pick the target.
Malawi also got a free kick on the edge of the box, but Phiri Jnr was denied by the crossbar with Botswana goalkeeper beaten.
Though Malawi defence was solid, poor communication between Flames goalkeeper Munthali and Cholopi almost gifted the Zebras a goal but Munthali recovered in time to save the situation.
The first half ended with Malawi still dominating as Mbulu headed over the bar from a Sambani’s Deeping cross after some over-overs on the left flank.
Just a mninute into the second half a searching cross from Sanudi picked Gaba in the box, but the Orlando Pirates striker was dispossesed after trying to control the ball instead of shooting first time.
Botswana missed their best chance when Munthali left his line to rob the ball off Lucky Ngele in a nick of time.
Malawi also survived a scare when Cholopi conceded a free kick for pulling down a Botswana player but Munthali with a magnificent save denied the visitors.
Malawi’s moment of happiness finally came 10 minutes before time when Mbulu was fouled in the box and Papa with his lethal left foot sent Botswana goalkeeper Dambe Kabelo the wrong way.
The Zebras assistant coach Teena Mpote conceded defeat.
“A well contested game. I will first congratulate Mwase. It was a good game. We didn’t create chances,” he said.
Mwase on the other hand was over the moon.
“It can only be God. I can only say thank you God,” he said.
Malawi Line Up
Brighton Munthali, Stanley Sanudi ,Charles Petro,Peter Cholopi,Precious Sambani,John CJ Banda,Chimwemwe Idana,Gerald Phiri,Yamikani Chester,Gabadinho Mhango( Ngalande 68′),Richard Mbulu
Ernest Kakhobwe, Denis Chembezi,Gomegzani Chirwa,Micium Mhone,Chikoti Chirwa,Chimango Kaira,Peter Banda,Robin Ngalande, Hassan Kajoke