Two second half goals from Colani Dvuba and Khayalethu Zitha of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) have minimized Malawi Junior National Team's chances of progressing to semifinal stage in the 2019 Cosafa U-17 Youth Championship after they suffered a painful 2-1 defeat in their Group A match on Monday at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre.
Eswatini celebrate at Mpira Stadium after silencing Malawi U-17
Malawi U-17 coach Msakakuona congratulating Eswatinu coach Dlamini
The Junior Flames, who have only 3 points collected in their first game against South Africa, needed another 3 points to automatically qualify into the semifinals but their chances have been put on hold and they are now very slim following their loss.
Malawi, the hosts, will niw bank on arithmetical chances to make the last four as either group winners or second best team as Zambia are now group leaders after they beat Eswatini 6-0.
The Junior Flames started with an impressive performance in the first half and
gave Eswatini more pressure in several occasions a development which
forced their opponents to spent much of their time in their half.
The hosts knocked on Eswatini's goal in a number of opportunities but Eswatini goal keeper Siyabonga Magagula who was voted man of the match saved his country after a brilliant and amazing performance that denied Malawi strikers to find the net after trying in different situations in the entire first half.
Eswatini, who looked tactless,failed to play a passing game in the first half started to be stabilising and comfortable on the ball in the second half and made a number of attempts on Malawi's goal.
But the youthful Flames reorganised themselves and continued pressurising Eswatini and few minutes later the team took the lead through Noel Sakala who produced a powerful long range shot in the 61' minute which Eswatini goal minder failed to save.
The home team's celebration mood was stopped in the 68th minute after Eswatini leveled the match before putting the second ball into back of the net in the 73' minute through.
Malawi coach Derklerk Msakakuona expressed disappointment with the loss which he said was a very painful defeat considering that they played well compared to their opponent.
"Of course I knew that our friends will come hard on us since they lost their first game and that made our game to be tough. It is very unfortunate that after taking the lead we failed to defend the goal and this has really affected us. I chances have been minimised now but I still have hope that we can turn the tables in our final match against Zambia because in football anything can happen though it will
be a tall order for us but with a good plan we can do better," said Msakakuona.
In his remarks Eswatini, Gcina Collen Dlamini was very thankful to his boys for this win which he said has given them opportunity of progressing to the semi finals.
"After losing to Zambia I told my boys not to look down but rather put their heads up and focus on our next games because football do change and today I'm proud of them because they have followed my advice.
"We'll be now looking forward for the final game against South Africa and this will be a difficult game because we'll be playing a team which is already out of the race which means they might have another different approach on us," said Dlamini.
However, Dlamini congratulated Malawi coach for being honest and not cheating on the selection of his team which he said it is all comprised young players which also have a bright future in football.
Zambia is leading Group A with 6 points after demolishing South Africa 7 nil on Monday.