Kumwembe’s penalty miss condemns Malawi to fourth position at Cosafa Cup


Penalties came back to haunt the Malawi National Football Team when they lost 3-5 to South Africa during the third place playoff at this year’s Hollywoodbet Cosafa Cup at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban.

Patrick Mabedi made several changes to his starting eleven when he handed Dan Chimbalanga, Frank Willard, MacDonald Lameck, Chrispin Mapemba, and Chifundo Mphasi their first start at the tournament.

The regulation time ended 0-0, but Malawi had a better game than their opponents, controlling ball possession and had several shots at goal.

The Flames made their first movement in the 13th minute when Chawanangwa Kaonga exchanged passes with Patrick Mwaungulu, but his cross was cut short by defender Mohamme for a cornerkick which they easily defended.

Bafana Bafana’ striker Mabasa called Brighton Munthali into action when he produced his first save of the match in a one on one situation.

Overall, Malawi created more goal scoring opportunities than their opposition and they should have had a lead when Mapemba, playing for FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves, fired at goal only to see his effort missing the upright with an inch for a goalkick.

Mapemba was at it again, this time around, seeing his first-time connection well saved by Mzimela.

At the other end, Munthali denied Mabasa again with a save when Malawi’s defense was caught napping in the line of duty.

The Flames had another opportunity from a set piece when Mwaungulu brilliantly curved the ball over South Africa’s human wall, but Mzimela was equal to the task with yet another excellent save.

The hosts were pushing for the much needed goal, but Mzimela couldn’t allow them to put the ball past him as he kept on producing save after save, and it was goalless at half-time.

Five minutes into the second half, the visitors made three changes to their team when Lakay, Sikhakhane, and Rayness replaced Dithejane, Gumede, and Letsoalo.

An interchange of passes between Mphasi to Kaonga and finally Idana in the 52nd minute saw the captain being denied by Mzimela, who was outstanding between the sticks for a cornerkick.

In the 56th minute, Chifundo Mphasi and Frank Willard replaced Christopher Kumwembe and Lloyd Aaron to try to improve the attacking prowess.

Mabedi made a double substitution when he brought in Stanley Sanudi and Alick Lungu for Mapemba and Mwaungulu.

Malawi had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the
83rd minute through a freekick taken by Sanudi, but Chaziya’s diving header was weak and went straight to the keeper.

With 90 minutes over and still goalless, the match had to be decided on penalties from which South Africa scored their five spot kicks, but Kumwembe saw his penalty hitting the upright to lose 3-5.

This means Mabedi’s charges have failed to bring the bronze medal after finishing fourth at the tournament. The team is expected back home on Monday.