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WALTER RISES AGAIN: Flames set new unbeaten run record

Jacama Kumwembe of Malawi celebrates goal during the 2023 Hollywood Bets COSAFA Cup match between Malawi and Seychelles in King Zwelithini Stadium, Umlazi on the 09 July 2023 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Malawi Nation Football team, the Flames have emerged as the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup Group B favourites after beating Seychelles 2-0 to maintain their unbeaten record and top the pool with six points.

You do not change a winning team, so interim coach Patrick Mabedi maintained the first XI that stunned Zambia 1-0 last week.

Black Leopards bound goalkeeper Brighton Munthali, who is behind the Flames’ clean sheet, started alongside defenders Stanley Sanudi, Nickson Mwase, Dennis Chembezi and Alick Lungu.

Impressive defending midfielder Lloyd Aron, gifted attacking midfielder Chimwemwe Idana were thrown in as usual.

The wings had Robert Saizi on the right and Lanjesi Nkhoma on the other side.
Upfront man of the match Chawanangwa Kaonga and Christopher Kumwembe got the green light.

But the victory over Seychelles did not come on a silver platter.

The islanders proved a formidable opponent as they maintained their discipline at the back and threatening when counter attacking.

The Flames, who looked desperate for a goal, were frustrated several times as Seychelles packed the bus, leaving no opening.

At half time, the Flames had registered just two shots on target while 10 went wide.

The second half saw the Flames much relaxed and taking their time on the ball to draw out their opponents.

The patience paid off in the 55th minute when Nkhoma headed home after some good work from Zanaco attacker Kaonga, who sent a lovely cross into the box.

Ten minutes later, Kumwembe doubled the lead from a rebound at close range after Seychelles goalkeeper fumbled Nkhoma’s thunderbolt.

From then on it was the Flames all over as they exchanged neat passes to the delight of Durban based Malawians who again flocked to the stadium to cheer their team to the end.

However, the battle is far from over.

Though the Flames now top the group with six points followed by Comoros who lost 2-1 to third-placed Zambia earlier, the group’s qualification to semis is still open to the three teams.

With Seychelles eliminated, the last matches will decide who wins the group.

A draw in the last group match against Comoros will be enough for Malawi.

But a loss to Comoros and if Zambia beat Seychelles, all the three teams will have six points each, meaning the winner will have to be determined by head to head

However, in this case head to head will not be enough since each of the three would have beaten the other.

The winner will therefore have to be decided through goal difference. Coach Mabedi said they  will not leave anything to chance.

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