Malawi Football National Team’s preparations for 2024 Afcon Qualifiers against Egypt took a minor stumble on Saturday, as the Flames were held to a 1-1 draw by Lesotho’s Likuena in an international friendly match played at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
Flames took the lead in the 20th minute through Micium Mhone from a well-placed cut-back from Alick Lungu.
The visitors equalized in the 64th minute through their substitute Jane Thabantso from the spot kick following a handball by defender Miracle Gabeya.
Midway into the second half, Flames supporters started supporting the visiting team following an unconvincing display from the hosts.
Speaking after the game, Flames Head coach Mario Marinica was upbeat about his side’s performance, despite the result.
“The match was good for us. For 60 minutes we played well after that we struggled and this is what I was saying that the players lack match fitness. But overall we should look at the positive side. We created a lot of chances and scored. On their equalizers, I don’t think that was a penalty. But well such is life,” said Marinica.
For Lesotho, the result was not important as they look forward to facing Zambia in the Afcon qualifiers, according to their head coach Veselin Jelušić.
“The result is less important for us. What is important is our preparations for the Afcon qualifier against Zambia. But the Malawi team is a strong team. You had more chances during the game but in the second half, we were a better team. Overall I am satisfied,” he said.
Flames Coach Mario Marinica’s starting line-up had goalkeeper Brighton Munthali, defender Stanley Sanudi, Lawrence Chaziya, Gabeya, and Dan Chimbalanga
The central midfield had Mhone, Charles Petro, and Chimwemwe Idana.
Upfront, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers’ Christopher Kumwembe played wide on the right side with Lungu on the left.
Wanderers’ forward Mphasto Kamanga played as the lone striker.
Marinica however, made several changes in the second half in the second half, introducing experienced players such as Chiukepo Msowoya and Stenie Dave.
The Flames will face Egypt in Cairo and at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe between March 20 and 28.
Flames lineup: Brighton Munthali (Clever Nkungula) Stanley Sanudi, Lawrence Chaziya, Miracle Gabeya, Dan Chimbalanga, Micium Mhone, Charles Petro, Chimwemwe Idana (Gilbert Chirwa), Alick Lungu, Christopher Kumwembe (Chiukepo Msowoya, Gaddie Chirwa), Mphatso Kamanga (Stein Dave)