Ronny van Geneugden, Malawi’s national team coach and under 20 assistant mentor, Lovemore Fazili, went on a spy mission to Zambia to watch South Africa’s Amajita draw 3-3 against Zambia in a friendly played at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka over the weekend.
Malawi’s under 20 meets South Africa this coming Sunday in the Under – 20 Africa Cup of Nations third and final qualifying round.
Football Association of Malawi Technical Director, John Kaputa, confirmed on Monday that his office dispatched Fazili to spy on South Africa.
“We sent Fazili and empowered him on what is involved when spying on a game and team. RVG also went there. We are serious. They went to spy on them and that is a fact,” Kaputa said.
During Sunday’s game, South Africa scored through Wiseman Meyiwa, Lyle Foster and Promise Nkhuma whereas the Zambians, who lost 0-1 to Malawi in a friendly played at the same venue two weeks ago, were on target courtesy of Martin Njobvu, Francisco Mwepu and Kings Kangwa.
In a post-match interview in Lusaka with The Daily Times, South Africa Coach, Thabo Senong, claimed that Malawi were ‘very worried’ with Amajita ahead of the two matches.
“Zambia are a good team. They made us run; we knew that they could give us a good friendly. We are going back home to prepare for the game against Malawi. We just have to go back to the drawing board and try to improve,” he said.
Asked as to how he rates Amajita’s chances of beating the Junior Flames at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg then in Lilongwe, Senong said Malawi were worried.
“It would be very tough, I must be honest. They scored five goals against Angola—home and away—we did an analysis. We have to work hard; we have to prepare hard. It is important that we do well at home in the first-leg because it is not going to be easy away. They are worried about us but we also need to respect them and make sure we prepare a better team,” he said.
South African coach justified his decision to play against the Junior Chipolopolo.
“Honestly, the result of this friendly does not reflect on what will happen in these qualifiers. When you play friendlies, you focus on performance, implementation of tactics and the process of your principles. We are not here not to focus on results,” Senong said.
Reacting to Senong’s remarks, Kaputa and Team Manager, Aubrey Nankhuni, separately said they were buoyed by the Junior Flames good record on the road.
“I sat down with the boys and told them that they reached this stage due to their impressive away performances in Angola and Swaziland. They are starting away. ‘We bang them in South Africa and bury them here in Malawi,’ that was my message to the team,” Kaputa said.
The overall winner over the two legs will qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals in Niger. The Junior Flames last qualified for the final of continental competition in 1999.