Malawians expressed reservations with Flames Coach Mario Marinica’s starting line-up before the Flames lost 2-1 to Lesotho in the Cosafa Cup.
Marinica started with Civo goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe in goals, Nyasa Big Bullets left back Precious Sambani returned to the national team for the first time since March 2021 while Mighty Mukuru Wanderers’ Stanley Sanudi started at right back.
Blue Eagles centre back Sankhani Mkandawire and Bullets’ Blessing Mpokela were selected in central defence, Bullets’ Chimwemwe Idana got the attacking midfield position while captain John CJ Banda and Chikoti Chirwa played behind Idana in defensive midfield.
Upfront, Marinica selected Khuda Muyaba, Gabadinho Mhango and Stain Davie.
Malawians were not happy with some of the selections, especially John Banda in midfield and the selection of Mkandawire who went on to score an own goal during the match.
“And why Sankhani of all Centre Backs??” said Yamikani Maganga on Football Association of Malawi Facebook page.
TK Manda said: “CJ Banda is no longer the best defending midfielder. He lacks pace, he can’t sense danger, he doesn’t track back on time, but I know he will play 90min.”
Some commenters wondered why Marinica dropped winger Peter Banda from the first eleven.
One commenter said: “This flames 🔥 technical panel will always fail us how can a coach whose brain 🧠 functions properly leave Peter Banda on the bench This Peter proved already that he can do this thing for us. Or maybe in your plans in your hearts for flames to lose uh?”
During the game, Lesotho opened the scoring through an own goal from Sankhani Mkandawire and they doubled their lead in the second half through Katleho Makateng. Chiukepo Msowoya pulled one back for Malawi but the Flames failed to equalize and they lost 2-1 in the Hollywood Bets Cosafa Cup Group B opening match at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban.
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