ANTANANARIVO-(MaraviPost)- The country’s national football team, the Flames, on Saturday afternoon, conceded a goal in the 87th minute to lose against Madagascar in its preliminary first leg qualifier of the 2018 Championship of African Nations (CHAN). The game was played at Mahamasina Municipal Stadium in Antananarivo.This a bad start for the expatriate coach, since the second leg is slated for the Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe only one week away, on Saturday, April 29, 2017.
Information Maravi Post gathered on the Antananarivo game, is that the Flames used the same formation that played to a goalless draw with Kenya on Tuesday, during a strength-testing match in Nairobi.
Although coach Ronny Van Geneugden made three changes to the squad, that started against Kenya with the introduction of Dalitso Sailesi, Yamikani Chester, and Harvey Nkacha, all given their first start to the team, nothing changed on the field of the game.
It is not any surprise that in the field of play, it was the Berea Stars of Madagascar, who dominated the first half, as Ernest Chipuwa made some saves that frustrated the home fans.
With Muhammad Sulumba playing as a lone striker, fewer chances were created by the Flames, who lacked pace in the final third of the match.
In a prowess attempt, Van Geneugden tried Manase Chiyesa for Sulumba, Yamikani Fodya, for Yamikani Chester and Gilbert Chirwa for Francis Mulimbika, as Malawi pushed for the much-needed goal in the second half, but nothing tangible came out of these.
Despite tactical changes, the Flames had rare chances to unlock the hosts defence, who were a marvel to watch in front of the newly-elected CAF President.
Just when everybody thought the game was heading towards a stalemate, the home team banged in their opener.
A defensive relapse by the visitors, allowed the hosts to capitalize, allowing their talisman to put the ball into the back of the net with just three minutes left on the clock, before the final whistle.
However, the entire Flames backroom staff, is optimistic that the return match on Saturday, will overturn the one-nil defeat at Bingu Stadium, next Saturday.
The Malawi national football team is expected to arrive home on Tuesday through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in the capital Lilongwe.