Flames coach, Ernest Mtawali and his assistant Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan, had an opportunity to sample their local squad when they defeated Be Forward Wanderers 3-1 during a friendly match at Chiwembe Stadium in Blantyre on Wednesday.
This was the first test for the Flames squad of local players, which has been in camp for two weeks at Fam headquarters in Blantyre.
In a match watched by a handful of fans, the Flames scored first through Jabulani Linje in the 12th minute before doubling the lead six minutes later after Bongani Kaipa put the ball past his own goalkeeper.
Chiukepo Msowoya, who failed to beat Nomads’ goalie Bester Phiri in several one-on-one situations, added the third for the Flames eight minutes before recess.
The Nomads scored their consolation through Luka Milanzi’s 24th minute spot-kick after Francis Mlimbika handled in the box.
Mtawali tried several combinations with Isaac Kaliati playing more central and Linje dropping into midfield in the second half.
Mlimbika also had a good match on the left side of the Flames defence as he overlapped frequently to aid Dalitso Sailesi in attack.
Dan Msimuko also had a good outing in midfield, and he seems to offer hope for the national team.
Ramadhan said the match was a good test ahead of the crucial Africa Cup of Nations ties against Guinea on March 25 and 29 in Conakry and Blantyre respectively.
“The whole team is doing well as a unit, but individually the players have some weaknesses. They seem to struggle to get back to their best after resting. That is why we played well for 70 minutes and relaxed in the last 20. We will work on that and the team will be in great shape soon,” he said.
Wanderers caretaker coach, Jack Chamangwana, said they discovered defensive flaws during their second consecutive loss after going down 1-2 to Wizards last Sunday.
“Some of the players such as Kondwani Lufeyo and Foster Namwera had communication problems at the back. After some time, they will get used to playing together. Some of the trialists, especially Nakamura, also showed signs of good potential,” he said.