Malawi’s win over Comoros sees new coach smiling
Penelope Paliani Kamangai
LILONGWE – Malawi’s new coach Ronny Van Geneugden’s was over the moon this weekend when the national team beat Comoros Island 1-0 in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, registering the coach’s first victory since he took over in
April this year.
Midfielder Gerald Phiri Jnr made the coach and Malawi happy after scoring the vital goal
from a well-taken free kick cd minutes into the first half to end the Flames’ 299 minute-goal drought in a game played at the newly built Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe named after the former late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
In a post-match interview, Geneugden praised his charges for the victory, stat- ing that they started the game with an offensive plan and “we attacked well with a passing game.”
“I am really happy for the players. We played our passing game and I believe the fans also enjoyed themselves,” he said.
The victory gets Malawi off to a per- fect start in their AFCON qualifying campaign with a solid three points from their first match and this made a visibly happy Geneugden to pat each player on the back for the well deserved triumph.
As his father Gerald Phiri Snr, who is also Flames assistant coach, watched his son from the bench, the Platinum Stars forward Phiri Jnr planted the ball home with his left foot from the edge of the box, beating Comoros goalkeeper, Ali Ahamada sending Flames fans into merriment.
The goal proved crucial as the Flames collected maximum points in their first game of the tournament to jointly lead Group B with Cameroon who beat Morocco with three points. Comoros and Morocco have no point.
Unlike the game against Madagascar, the Flames played a passing game – building attacks from the back with Stanley Sanudi playing as right wing back.
The Flames could have scored more goals if Jabulani Linje and Gabadihno Mhango did not miss several goal-scor- ing opportunities.
Linje was eventually replaced by Costa do Sol forward Richard Mbulu with gh minutes remaining. Substitute Mbulu brought life into the Flames’ attack, combining well with Mhango.
Comoros should also express grati- tude to their goalkeeper Ahamada for a concrete feat throughout the match as he denied Mhango goals on several occasions. Flames had the upper hand for the better part of the game as Phiri Jnr, John Banda and Chikoti Chirwa held the midfield.
Captain Limbikani Mzava, John Lanjesi and debutant Dennis Chembezi combined well at the back.
Both nations will resume their campaign next year in March when Cam-eroon, the country that gave the world the hip-wriggling, gap-toothed Roger Milla, play the while Malawi play Morocco.