The Flames have crashed out of the 2015 DSTV Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup after being thumped by the Cranes of Uganda in Addis Ababa.
Rafique Miya scored a free header in the 6th minute of the first half to put Uganda in front before another cool finish from Ceasar Okhutu in the 48th minute ended the game as a contest.
This was the two sides’ second meeting in four months, having played each other on 6th July during Malawi’s Independence Day celebrations in which the Flames recorded a 1-0 victory courtesy of Chiukepo Msowoya’s last gasp thumping header.
But on Monday afternoon, it was the Cranes who controlled everything as they attacked from all angles like angry vipers. Malawi only created less than four chances throughout the entire 90 minutes of play. Simplex Nthara was at fault for both goals as he conceded silly goals at the near post.
Nevertheless, the Flames of Malawi were below par as Chimango Kaira and Gerald Phiri Jnr failed to control the midfield, allowing the Cranes to come hard on Malawi’s defence.
After scoring early, the Ugandans were in control of possession and could have increased their lead through their first goal scorer but his shot went wide.
At the other end, Msowoya failed to connect well from a John Banda cross allowing the Cranes to recover and clear the danger away.
Mtawali’s boys were enduring a bad afternoon as their style of play was not convincing, they created fewer chances and were seen chasing the ball throughout the entire opening minutes and after 45 minutes of play, the Flames were trailing by a goal to nothing.
In the second half, it was the same old story of conceding in the early minutes. Yamikani Fodya was cleanly beaten by a Ugandan winger who released Okhutu to the right flank of the field and he made no mistake but to slot past Nthara at the near post, 2-0.
This goal forced the Flames to introduce Nelson Kangunje and Isaac Kaliati for Shumaker Kuwali and Phiri Jnr respectively. Banda had his long range effort well saved by the Ugandan shot stopper who shortly made another save to deny Msowoya from scoring.
Nthara was forced to make a stunning save for a corner after an exchange of passes by the Cranes’ players in midfield resulted in an atttempt at goal.
Flames coach made his final substitution with 19 minutes to play when he brought in Chawanangwa Kaonga for Miracle Gabeya but this change made no impact as the Ugandans defended with discipline at the back. The Flames tried their level best to come back into the game but the 13 times Cecafa champions stood firm to advance to the semifinal stages of the cup, 2-nil, it ended. Speaking to the media in the aftermath of his team’s exit, Mtawali said his team deserved to be booted out.
“We didnt play well today and we deserved this result.
Despite exiting, my boys have learnt something and as we are preparing for Guinea in the crucial 2017 Afcon qualifier, we will be in a very good position,” he said.
Malawi have failed to go past the quarterfinal stage of the competition for the past five competitions.
The tournament will end on 6 December but the Flames have decided to cut it short and will be back in the