The Malawi National Football Team had to settle for a 0-0 draw against Zimbabwe National Football Team in a strength testing match played at Mpira Stadium on Sunday afternoon in readiness for the forthcoming back to back Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso next month.
Meck Mwase’s men were hoping to bounce back from their 1-nil loss to Zambia on Wednesday but their efforts ended in vain as the Warriors held their nerves to frustrate the home team which had plenty of chances in both halves.
Mwase made five changes to the side that lost on Wednesday, bringing on board Ernest Kakhobwe for Brighton Munthali, Peter Cholopi for Dennis Chembezi, Schumaker Kuwali for Richard Mbulu, Chikoti Chirwa for Chimango Kayira and Chimwemwe Idana for Gerald Phiri Jnr.
The home side started brightly and were unlucky not to grab an early goal. A combination of Idana and John Banda released Kuwali to the left flank of the field but the latter did little to test Talbert Shumba as his drive went wide of the goal mouth.
The hosts never stopped pushing forward, but they struggled to break down the visitors’s defense which was led by Gilrow Chimwemwe, Alec Mudimu and Devine Lunga.
However, Flames had a glorious chance in the 39th minute when Yamikani Chester made a good run before sending a million dollar pass into the box only for Idana to blast the effort over the crossbar when the goalkeeper was nowhere near the goal line.
Moments later, the Flames created yet another goal scoring opportunity through Gabadinho Mhango.
The Orlando Pirates attacker made his way into the penalty box before beating Lunga before sending his shot over the cross bar with only the goalkeeper to beat.
After the recess, Zimbabwe made a double substitution, introducing King Nadolo and Evance Katema for Chalton Mashumba and Maclive Phiri.
The Warriors upped their game after the break, and to their credit, they did not sit back as they took the game to the hosts making an exciting encounter through Marvelous Nakamba and Teenage Hadebe.
The visitors’ first meaningful chance on goal came in the 47th minute after some great work from Khama Billiat who found Katema unmarked in the box only to drive his header straight at Kakhobwe, his first involvement in the match.
Chirwa was then shown a yellow following a dangerous tackle on Nadoli.
The visitors kept on pushing for a goal, this time around, Katema’s shot missing Kakhobwe’s goal posts with an inch.
Mwase then made his first change when Chester and Idana paved the way for Mbulu and Phiri Jnr.
The hosts were unlucky not to go ahead in the 73rd minute as Mbulu’s spectacular effort was saved by Shumba to the disbelief of Mwase and his Technical team.
Warriors coach then made another change, introducing Jimmy Dzingai and Ian Nekati for Mudimu and Billiat while Mwase brought in Micium Mhone for Kuwali.
Just a minute after coming in, Mhone almost gave the hosts a lead when he was found unmarked in the six-yard box only to be denied by Shumba who produced a fantastic save.
In the additional minutes, Andrew Malisero was brought in for Mhango but it was too late to make an impact as Chicco blew his whistle to mark the end of the match.
Speaking during the post match interview, Mwase said he was happy with the performance but bemoaned the missing chances.
“Better performance today but not what we wanted. We played very well according to our plan as you know we are preparing for Burkina Faso away from home though we did not score goals today but I am very happy with the performance.
“The boys were better but they are not yet there. We had chances that we should have scored but we missed. We have to work hard to rectify the problems we encountered in the last two games. We are coming from a loss and now we have draw, things will get better and it won’t be easy playing away from home but we will try our level best to work out on our problems before facing Burkina Faso.
“When we resume camping, we will focus on working on our fitness levels. It’s not easy following a length break due to Covid-19 break but with time, we will be there,” he said.
Malawi: Ernest Kakhobwe, Stanley Sanudi, Charles Petro, Peter Cholopi, Precious Sambani, Chikoti Chirwa (Chimango Kaira 60′), Chimwemwe Idana (Richard Mbulu 70′), Yamikani Chester (Gerald Phiri 69′), Schumaker Kuwali (Micium Mhone 85′), John Banda, Gabadinho Mhango (Andrew Maliseri 90 + 1′). Coach- Meck Mwase
Zimbabwe: Talbert Shumba, Maclive Phiri (King Nadolo 46′), Devine Lunga, Alec Mudimu (Jimmy Dzingai 76′), Teenage Hadebe, Marvelous Nakamba, Gilrow Chimwemwe, Tanara Chinyahara, Charlton Mashumba (Evance Katema 60′), Khama Biliati (Ian Nekati 88′), Tafadzwa Rusike.