Written by LEONARD SHARRA
LILONGWE--Malawi’s Flames on Saturday, October 13, 2012 disgraced thousands of enthusiastic home fans, when they failed to overturn the 2-0 deficit suffered at the hands of Ghana’s Black Stars during the first leg qualifier for South Africa 2013 Nations Cup finals.
The Flames’ instead slumped 1-0 in front of a partisan home crowd, which included Malawi’s First Gentleman Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda.
Interestingly, Banda was in the Malawi national team side that lost 12-0 to Ghana at Kamuzu Stadium 50 years ago- what an unpleasant anniversary for the First Gentleman.
It took the Ghanaians just less than three minutes to unsettle the hosts when midfielder Afriyea Acquah slotted the ball home after a corner kick.
The Flames tried all they could to come back into the game but the Black Stars defence stood firm to deny the hosts even a chance of shooting at goal.
Coach Kinnah Phiri tried to introduce fresh pairs of legs by pushing in Atusaye Nyondo for Gabadinho Mhango, Robin Ngalande for injured Essau Kanyenda and later striker Chiukepo Msowoya for defender Steve Chagoma but to no avail.
Towards the end, a group of fans started chanting ‘Kinnah achokeee, tipeze wina, Kinnah achokeee, tipeze wina.’
Speaking in a post-match press conference after the game, the coach said Ghana’s quick goal disturbed his charges and gave advantage to the visitors.
The coach, however, surprised the local media, when he said he was building a team for the future: “This is a team for the future and we have learnt quite a number of things from the two legs. Ghana is a world-class team and simply put, we have lost to a better team,” he said.
The coach, however, lost temper when a Ghanaian journalist asked him whether he would be resigning, having promised that he would defeat the Black Stars 3-0.
“Are you a Malawian... why should you ask me to resign, when you are not a Malawian? Kinnah responded to the inquisitive journalist.
Ghana’s coach Kwesi Appiah and his star player Asamoah Gyan congratulated the Malawi team for putting up a grand fight, saying they had won a difficult match.