It was not the worst result ever recorded by Meck Mwase ever since becoming the Flames coach, but it was not the best either as Malawi National Football Team were out-muscled and out-maneuvered by Ethiopia in a 4-0 defeat at Bahir Dar Stadium in an international friendly match.
The Flames will connect to South Sudan for their must win 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier before hosting Uganda five days later.
As one way to prepare for the two matches, Malawi traveled to Ethiopia to play the match only to get the baptism of fire as the host capitalized on defensive errors from Mwase’s men.
With a 5-4-1 formation, many expected Malawi to attack with caution and to concede less but it was the opposite as they were found themselves 2-0 down before the recess and there were two further second half strikes from the Walias.
Mwase used Ernest Kakhobwe, Stainley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi, Nickson Nyasulu, Precious Sambani, Chimango Kayira, Rafiq Namwera, Chimwemwe Idana, Micium Mhone, Duncain Nyoni and Vincent Nyangulu in the first eleven before second half changes that brought no impact to his side.
The hosts took the lead in the 16th minute through Mesud Muhammad simple tap in from a Gefame Kebede’s cross.
The Flames had their realistic chance after the half hour mark through Nyangulu who blasted his effort over the cross bar.
In the 40th minute, Mwase brought in Schumaker Kuwali for Kayira who was not having a good game on the afternoon.
In the 45th minute, Kabede turned from being a provider to a scorer when he found the back of the net just like the first goal when Sanudi failed to close him down from a freekick to slot the ball past defenseless Kakhobwe, 2-0.
After the recess, Mwase brought in William Thole, Paul Ndlobvu, John Banda and Robin Ngalande for Kakhobwe, Cholopi, Idana and Nyoni.
The Walias made things worse for the Flames when Safaeso Daganene scored a fantastic goal from the outside box that hit the near post top corner into the net, 3-0.
Malawi, through the few opportunities created, had another chance to reduce the arrears in the 65th minute but Ngalande missed the opportunity to further frustrate Mwase who looked for a goal that never was.
In the 71st minute, Abubukel Nasil’s solo effort was just too strong for Thole who could not do anything to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net to worsen the day further for the visitors who were completely outdone by the Walias in front of few supporters amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mwase made his final change of the day when he handed Patrick Banda his Flames debut in place of Mhone who wasn’t very effective throughout the match.
As Malawi tried to push for the equalizer, the Walias held on to claim a comfortable 4-0 victory ahead of next week’s Afcon qualifiers.
Speaking to FAM Media after the final whistle, Mwase said the match exposed some weaknesses in his squad but he was quick to blame the Covid-19 break which forced the elite league to be suspended for almost seven weeks.
“We wanted to see how ready our boys are but it has shown that we have a lot of work to do before playing South Sudan. We are still behind in terms of football games which our friends are playing. We featured local players who have been idle for a long time and despite training hard, we lack match fitness,” he said.
On using three of the foreign based players called, the mentor said:
“They have shown that they are really up there for themselves, they have shown that they came in with a very good purpose. They gave us a good run.
“We still have more foreign based players that are coming and with five days remaining, we will work hard in order to get the result against South Sudan and Uganda,” he said.
Malawi are third in Group B with four points behind Burkina Faso and Uganda.