It was one of the sublime ways of ending that disappointing 2017 Afcon qualifying campaign for the Malawi national football team as they beat Swaziland 1 nil at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday.
A sole goal by Gerald Phiri from a free kick just after 7 minutes saw the era of interim coach Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan start off in style.
But who starred the most in the win?
Our social media manager Joseph Dumbula and Senior Sports reporter, Andrew Chilapondwa have the ratings made out of 10.
Charles Swini: 7/10. Came at so many instances to save the wrath of the fans by making clearances that the Flames defenders had failed to do. He was good in aerial ball, most of which the visitors fancied in the D-Zone. Clearing out a Mcolisi Lukhele lowly taken flick just after three minutes for play was one of the scintillating scenes Swini produced. Clearance of every through ball, was what summed up his day.
Limbikani Mzava: 5/10. Captain of the side on day. A few poor back passes he exchanged with other defenders nearly cost the match for the Flames. But just like he does, Mzava was averagely a wonderful performer manning the defence and heard shouting at the field of play. Produced vital clearances from crosses let in from the right frank where Wonder Nhleko kept Steven Chagoma at bay.
Steven Chagoma: 4/10. A defender who hasn’t been playing regularly for the Flames. A surprise package of the day. Made a couple of awesome tackles on the right frank but depended much on Miracle Gabeya who covered up the line where Swaziland was lethal. A player good at marking but not able to make swift and the most wise passes. Has not played in the same partnership before and hopefully he will cope in the next matches. He was sacrificed in the second half for Stanley Sanudi.
Miracle Gabeya : 9/10. Undisputedly the star perfomer of the day. He continuously made tackles and clearances at the back. While clinging to a wonderful off side trap the Flames used in the match, he also covered up for Steven Chagoma at the right frank. Managed to cover up for the goalkeeper Charles Swini through the long and aerial balls the Swazis played in the D-zone. A rather taller man at the back, Gabeya used this advantage t o both man mark the Swaziland frontline men of Mcolisi Lukhele and Felix Badenhorst. A spirited performance earned him our highest rank from the match.
Francis Mlimbika: 4/10. The left footed Mlimbika produced a stunning performance in the first half but the second half looked one hell of his time. Mlimbika slipped on the artificial turf only that Felix Badenhorst shot twice off target and hit the side netting once failing to beat Charles Swini in goals on other key three attempts with just ten minutes left. Mlimbika was another good partner of captain Mzava and Gabeya as well as Gerald Phiri nr who played in the same left line.
John Banda: 5/10. The match looked by far a bad one for CJ as he is fondly known. His partnership with fellow midfields Robert Ng’ambi, Chimango Kaira and Gerlad Phiri Jnr, only left him out. But the coach trusted him and played up until full time. Banda supplied Gabadihno Mhango with billion worthy through balls, but Mhango lacked that needed finishing touch and was profoundly marked by taller Swaziland defenders. He has however been one of the key players in Flames’ last assignments. Hoping he will bounce his old self.
Read the match report HERE:
Robert Ng’ambi: 8/10. When so many people kept saying Ngambi was the missing jigsaw puzzle in the Flames squad lately, they surely meant the midfield needed someone who can both mark and supply balls to the strikers. A wonderful partnership with Chimango Kaira once again. Showed what experience has in store for him. He nearly set up Chimango Kaira who was about to shoot before he was fouled- a set piece from where Gerald Phiri Jnr won it for the Flames. He surely was one of the star performers of the day.
Gerald Phiri Jnr: 7/10 Well, what more praise could scorer for the team’s lone goal get other than being named as one of the star performers. Gerald only lacked the energy but his prowess on the ball and wonderfully taken flicks and free kicks mesmerised his day. He after scoring a screamer hit the post from another well taken free kick from nearly the same position. Set up Gabadihno Mhango thrice in the first half and missed a clear chance moments later. He only failed to curl in a deflected shot pas Swaziland keeper Nhlanhla Gwebu. He was substituted for Rafique Namwela in the second half.
Chimango Kayira 6: 10. The defensive midfielder helped ease the pressure on the Flames backline. Constantly tackled Siboniso Malambe, a Swaziland player who at several times terrorised he Flames with skillful nutmegs. Partnered awesomely with Robert Ng’ambi. Supplied balls in the wings where most of the Flames prowess emerged from.
Gabadinho Mhango: 8/10. A complete athlete upfront for the Flames. Twice hit the post and dribbled his way past the Swaziland defence only that his height could not match that of the towering visitors. Made a couple of scintillating ball exchanges with Gerald Phiri Jnr in the midfield. When he switched to the wings, he had one of his well taken shots parried away by Nhlanhla Gwebu for a corner.
Gastin Simkonda: 6/10. What looked like an unlikely partnership with Gabadinho Mhango upfront well came to be a lethal one not expected. A few clear ball exchanges with the midfielders earned him the praise. Nearly came on target a few minutes before recess but his effort hit the side netting. Twice limped after knocks with Swaziland’s Sifiso Mabila but played the entire half before he was replaced by Peter Wadabwa.
Stanley Sanudi: 5/10. Replaced Steven Chagoma. He killed off the right wing where Tanzania gave Chagoma a tough time in the first half. As usual he made stunning runs in the line but his few crosses into the box could not be capitilzed by the pint sized Gabadihno Mhango and headed over the post by Peter Wadabwa.
Rafiq Namwela: 5/10. Replacing Gerlad Phiri Jnr who had been lethal was not an easy task but. But filled in the shoes and made moving exchanges with John Banda and Robert Ng’ambi at the midfield. His long range effort in failed to give Nhlanhla Gwebu a tough time as it flew over the bar. Another suiting midfielder who surely should improve by every game.
Peter Wadabwa: 6/10. He came in for a limping Gastin Simkonda. He made an instant influence just after he came on. His header from a Stanley Sanudi cross was fantasticall saved by Nhlanhla Gwebu.