9th June, 2012
The Flames of Malawi on Saturday drew one all with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a tightly fought Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying encounter played at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The Nigerians scored in the 90th minute through Gabriel Reuben while the Flames equalised three minutes into the injury time through late substitute Christopher John Banda, who plies his club football at Lilongwe-based Blue Eagles.
It was a good result for the West Africans as their coach, Stephen Keshi indicated on arrival in Malawi a draw would be a desirable result considering that they would be playing away.
They beat Namibia last week and went to Blantyre with three points and with the draw on Saturday; they now lead the group with four points.The Flames had an upper hand throughout the game winning more corners than their opponents who only had three in the entire game.
Robin Ngalande of Spanish club Athletic Madrid was a thorn in the Nigerians fresh, hitting the post in one of his attempts, while Chimango Kayira missed a sitter with only goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama in goals to beat.
Stylish Joseph Kamwendo messed several Malawi chances as he misplaced passes uselessly, while goalkeeper Simplex Nthala’s agility in goals kept the probing Nigerian striking force at bay.
The introduction of Robert ‘Baggio’ Ng’ambi in place of tired Ngalande breathed new life into the Flames’ attacking formation, while another substitute Chiukepo Msowoya also displayed flashes of brilliance which could have the game for the Flames.
Head coach for Malawi, Kinnah Phiri, who spent the entire time of the tie standing, must be an extremely worried man as impatience continues to mount among soccer pundits and fans alike over lack of results.
Malawi, who have two points after also amassing one point from a draw against Kenyan Harambee Stars last week, now have an uphill battle to ensure qualification as they will have to play away in Nigeria and Namibia and host the Namibians and Kenya.The only hope is that Namibia either beat Kenya in Nairobi or hold the Harambee Stars in the second group game later today.