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FLAMES BOTTOM IN GROUP D

By Cyrus Bengo


Former Kaizer Chiefs defender, Patrick Mabedi who was appointed as the Caretaker Coach for the Malawi National Football Team is edging closer to clinching a deal with the Football Association of Malawi for the permanent deal after finishing his caretaking role undefeated.

Mabedi who was the Junior Flames Coach was appointed by the Association as the Caretaker Coach in April this year to replace fired Mario Marian Marinica but he has performed beyond expectations.

He capped off his tenure with a convincing 2-all draw against one of Africa’s powerhouses on Saturday at the Bingu National Stadium.

Robert Saizi beat Guinea’s Goalkeeper inside 22 minutes in the first half to put Mabedi’s men in front but defensive relapse in the early minutes of the second half saw Malawi going behind as the visitors scored twice inside 13 minutes into the second half. Aguibou Camara levelled in the 56th minute with a super finish from outside the box before Sow put Guinea in front two minutes later.

Towering defender, Lawrence Chaziya levelled the scores with just two minutes before the final whistle after thundering home Robert Saizi’s corner-kick to increase Mabedi’s chances of getting the permanent job.

Patrick started off his journey with a 1-all stalemate against Mozambique in a friendly game in readiness for the game against Ethiopia which ended in a barren stalemate in Mozambique. Mabedi guided Malawi to their first ever Semifinal stage at the Cosafa Cup in 20 years where Malawi lost on penalties to Eswatin.

Malawi’s dreams of a second Africa Cup of Nations appearance in the last three years came to an end on June 20 when they were held to a goalless draw by Ethiopia

The Flames were guilty of a lack of sting at the attacking end of the pitch once again as they failed to threaten the hosts before settling for a share of the spoils at the Bingu National Stadium.

Since kicking off the qualifiers with a 2-1 victory over Ethiopia on June 5, Malawi have failed to win their four subsequent Group D matches, picking up one draw and losing three in that time. They lost 2-0 to Egypt in Cairo before being hammered 4-0 at home by the same Pharaohs. The back-to-back defeats to Egypt came after losing 1-0 to Guinea away from home.

This underwhelming run has been owing to their struggles in front of goal as they have failed to find the back in each of their last four qualifying games while conceding seven prior to the game against Guinea.

With just five points from a possible 15, Patrick Mabedi’s men are currently bottom but one in Group D, one point above last-placed Ethiopia, who lost to Egypt in the other group fixture on Friday.

Guinea, on the other hand, were left empty handed for the second consecutive game as they suffered a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Brazil in a friendly encounter on June 17.

Being the formality match, Mabedi called Silver Strikers’ Tatenda M’balaka into the starting team following Alick Lungu’s injury while Robert Saizi started on the opposite wing flank as Mabedi deployed a back-three formation.

Flames had an injury set-back as first choice goalkeeper, Brighton Munthali was hooked off at half time with deputy, Clever Mkungula taking over the sieving job.

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