As Malawians were busy celebrating Queen’s victory over Zimbabwe in their opening game at African Netball Cup in Uganda, Flames came out fast to spoil the party as they went 2-nil down to Tanzania in the Cosafa Castle Cup opening group A match at Moruleng Stadium in South Africa.
Yahya Ramadhan scored both goals in the opening 20 minutes of the match to send the guest nation top of the group.
Flames head coach Ronny Van Geneudgen used a very attacking minded formation, with Dalitso Sailesi, Jabulani Linje.
However, Flames were playing deep inside their own half, inviting trouble as Tanzania caught Malawi napping in the line off duty.
Tanzania got the opener in the 12th minute when Flames defence failed to clear a cross from the right flank, allowing Ramadhan to smash the ball past Ernest Kakhobwe in goals for Malawi.
At the other end, Malawi’s first shot at goal came from Dalitso Sailesi following an exchange of passes with Jabulani Linje.
Moments later, it was 2-nil. Ramadhan forced his way into the penalty box to slot past Kakhobwe into the back of the net, 2-0.
RVG then made a first half substitute, bringing on board Innocent Bokosi for Dennis Chembezi.
Sailesi, who was a marvel to watch, dribbled past two defenders to set up Yamikani Chester who fired wide from the goal.
Moments later, Lucky Malata almost reduced the affairs but his first touch let him down as he blasted his effort over the bar.
Come second half, Flames were a very much changed side as they pressed harder in search for goals but Taifa Stars’ shot-stopper was very outstanding between the two posts.
Bokosi’ thumping header was well saved by Tanzania’ goalkeeper before Linje’ miss inside the penalty box.
At the other end, Kakhobwe produced two stunning saves to deny Saimon Msuva and Elic Maguli from scoring.
Sailesi’ cross was well met in the penalty box by Bokosi only to fire wide from the goal mouth.
With some few minutes to play, Binwel Katinji was introduced for Simeon Singa as Malawi tried their level best to snatch something out of the game but Tanzania stood firm to collect first points of the competition.
After the final whistle, RVG said: “My boys were afraid in the first half and I was very surprised but during the half time, I talked to them and we played very well.
” It was very good to see the boys playing well and we have taken some positives ahead of the second game, ” he said.
Malawi will play Mauritius in their second game before completing their group A task with a clash against Angola.
Group winner will play South Africa in the quarterfinals of the competition.