Malawi National Football Team
showed great character to come from a goal down and beat Namibia 2-1 to book a place in the quarterfinals of the 2019 COSAFA Cup on Tuesday evening.
This is the Flames’ first COSAFA
Cup quarterfinal qualification since they won the Plate competition in 2015. It was also their first win over Namibia in a COSAFA Cup match. They will now face Zambia.
The win gave Malawi six points and second-placed Namibia have three, but even if they win their final clash against Seychelles and Malawi lose against Mozambique on Thursday, The Flames will still advance via a better head-to-head record over the Brave Warriors.
Gabadinho Mhango was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Namibia defender Charles Hambira when he seemed destined to score early on, with Malawi making the brighter start of the two sides.
But Namibia grabbed the lead 11 minutes into the match when Charles Hambira ghosted in at the near post from a corner to head the ball into the back of the net.
That seemed to stun Malawi and the Brave Warriors might have been 2-0 up when Joslin Kamatuka found himself in acres of space on the edge of the box, but Flames defender Petro quickly closed him down before he could shoot.
Malawi attempted to find a way back into the game, but the Namibian defense held firm and created very little in the way of space in which they could play.
It took a moment of brilliance from Mhango to bring the Flames to level as he powerfully hooked the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle, leaving Namibia goalkeeper Loydt Kazapua with no chance.
Malawi seized the initiative shortly after the break when they won a penalty after a foul on Richard Mbulu by Vitapi Ngaruka. Referee Antonio Dungula from Angola pointed to the spot after consulting with his assistant.
It was the correct call and Gerald Phiri Junior expertly slotted the spot-kick in the corner of the net.
Coach Meke Mwase was over the moon after the victory and praised his boys for not giving up.
“Congratulations to the boys for showing great fighting spirit. It is not easy to come from behind in international football and we have not done that for a long time as Flames.
“It feels good to qualify for the quarterfinals and if we continue taking our chances and defending well as we did this evening then we will go far in the competition,” he said.