Brazil World Football Cup African Group F champions race open

Namibia National Football SquadFailure to utilise home ground advantage by Namibia who on the log table were second with three points while the visiting Malawi side entered the pitch with two points culminated from draws, and African champions last minute equaliser against group anchor Kenya has left the campaign for the Africa Group F qualifier to next year’s World Cup finals wide open.

Saturday March 23 2013 results makes the battle took a new twist with less fancied Malawibeing separated with just a goal difference as they jointly stand at the summit with Nigeria after silencing Namibia with a priceless second half goal by the country’s hot property Gabardino Mhango. Nigeria cancelled Kenya’s 39th minute lead in the dying minutes.

Substitute Mhango’s calculated strike was the killer punch that Malawi needed to reclaim a winning formula that eluded the Southern African soccer loving country for nearly six competitive matches and land Namibia their first defeat in the two countries competitive games since the hosts gained independence.

Malawi’s win has also dented Namibia’s coach record who has tasted defeat since 2011 besides the verbal outburst that Malawi is no better than his side, and that with new coaching panel, the Namibian Coach thought the situation for Malawi was even worse.

But the Namibia coach was given multiple blows as the visiting Flames who made it clear that they were in Namibia not as journey men, not only managed to diffuse the home ground advantage, but had the guts to scorch the Brave Warriors when the visitors were in low spirits after receiving sad news that their coach’s son has passed away back home, such that the team was in the hands of his assistants.

Played in Windhoek at the Independence Stadium, the Flames, as Malawi side is also known, dominated the game although the team was jittery in the opening minutes and that it carelessly picked four yellow cards for various offences.

Wonder boy Mhango who was introduced after 18 minutes in the second half for Atusaye Nyondo changed the tempo of the game and his combination with Fischer Kondowe, who was making a comeback after years of being in oblivion, proved that Malawi went to Namibia with a purpose.

Kondowe and Nyondo efforts to put Malawi on the lead were thwarted by the alert Brave warriors but failed to contain Mhango’s.

Before chirping in Mhango, Malawi bench released Ndaziona Chatsalira in the seventh minute of the first half for Douglas Chilambo who was served with a yellow card as early as the fourth minute.

The stand in coaches also brought in midfield workhorse Chimango Kayira towards the end of the game.

Namibia also made substitutions but could not outwit the Mabedi and Ernest Mtawali boys.

Newstime Africa monitored the Namibia-Malawi match on Zodiak Broadcasting Station, a Malawi radio station, and observed that Chaima who was being covered in defense by James Sangala, Harry Nyirenda, Moses Chavula and Limbikani Mzava, all internationals, made several spectacular saves, the first one coming in the very first minute.

Owen Chaima manned the Malawi posts for the first time following the usual injury of the country’s usual goal tenders. Simplex Nthara, the first choice was injured at his Mozambican club while his substitute Charles Swini got injured during training.

Playing a 4-4-2 systematic game Malawi coaches packed Liga Maculmana new catch and the team’s stand in Captain Joseph Kamwendo; Kondowe, Evergreen South Africa based Robert Ng’ambi and Chirambo in the midfield, with Zicco Mkanda and Nyondo starting up front.

As an excited Assistant Coach Patrick Mabedi said in an interview with ZBS, Malawi deserved to win as they displayed marvellous soccer, saying; “We are happy that we have won. The players were dedicated and with the good game plan it worked though it took us some minutes to settle down.”

One of the Brave Warriors players concedes defeat though he argued that his side too played well.

Statistics show that Malawi drew both of their opening two games while Namibia beat Kenya at home, but lost to Nigeria.

As the battle continues, on June 7 Malawi will host Namibia while Kenya entertains Nigeria. A week later Namibia will play host to Nigeria as Malawi welcomes Kenya in the capital Lilongwe. The teams will take a breather up until September when Malawi visits Nigeria while Namibia goes to Kenya.

How they stand in Group F

Team Played Won Draw Loss Goals for Goals against Goal difference Points
Nigeria

3

1

2

0

3

2

1

5

Malawi

3

1

2

0

2

1

1

5

Namibia

3

1

0

2

1

2

-1

3

Kenya

3

0

2

1

1

2

-1

2

© 2013, Peter Chipanga. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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