The Malawi U-20 national team on Monday suffered a huge setback in its quest to storm the last four of the 2020 COSAFA Youth Championship currently underway in South Africa following a 2-1 defeat to Namibia.
Namibia had to come from behind to secure this vital win after Lanjesi Nkhoma who shrugged off a number of challenges before firing low to put Malawi ahead in the 10th minute.
However, Namibia equalised four minutes later through Juninho Jantze who provided a controlled volley at the back post to level the scores, before Giovani Kaninab grabbed the winner just before halftime.
Coach Patrick Mabedi said his players paid dearly for not listening to what they were instructed to do on the pitch.
He said: if you don’t listen to clear instructions given, you end up committing huge mistakes like we have seen today.
The players didn’t do what they were told during training as they departed from our system play and adopted the long and high ball type of play implored by Namibia.”
Mabedi however said, he was upbit that the team can still progress so long as they correct mistakes noted during the Namibia match before facing the group leaders Zambia on Wednesday.
“All is not lost because we still have a chance of qualifying for the semi final of the Championship.
All we need to do is win by at least 2-0 against Zambia on Wednesday and we will be home and dry,” he said.
Only the top team in each pool as well as best-placed runner-up advance to the semifinals, while the two finalists at this year’s competition will win a place at the 2021 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations.
In order to make the best runner-up place calculation fair, the results against the bottom teams in Groups A and B will be discarded.
This means, a 2 nil win against Zambia will automatically see the Malawi Men’s U-20 National team storming the semis although such a dream may likely be halted in case Malawi wins by a goal to zero as that will instantly hand Namibia the qualification bragging rights.
The Group C action is up first at 12h20 where a point for Eswatini in their clash against Botswana will ensure they finish top of the pool.
But a win for the Young Zebras will see all three teams on three points and the pool decided by goal-difference.
Mozambique need to avoid defeat to hosts South Africa (15h30) to finish top in Group A, but a win for the latter would see them go top and leave the Young Mambas sweating on a best runner-up place.
At the same time Zimbabwe take on Lesotho, will both teams essentially out of the competition as even a win for Zimbabwe would leave them with only a single point in the runner-up calculation.
The same would go for Lesotho with results against the bottom team discarded.
Comoros 0 Zambia 2 (John Chishimba 3′, Bulaya 45′)
Namibia 2 (Jantze 14′, Kaninab 45′) Malawi 1 (Nkhoma 10′)
3 goals – Sinenjongo Mkiva (South Africa)
2 – Oswin Appollis (South Africa), Simon Cipriano (Mozambique), Tangu Gastao (Angola), Ambrosini Salvador (Angola)
1 – Derrick Bulaya (Zambia), John Chishimba (Zambia), Rowan Human (South Africa), Juninho Jantze (Namibia), Giovani Kaninab (Namibia), Mohlala Makola (South Africa), Golden Mashata (Zambia), Yamikani Mologeni (Malawi), Lexington Mujokoro (Zimbabwe), Panashe Mutimbanyoka (Zimbabwe), Tshepo Myeni (South Africa), Majahesibili Ndlovu (Eswatini), Lanjesi Nkhoma (Malawi), Gabriel Pinho (Mozambique)
Own goal – Thapelo Mohale (Lesotho)
15h30 (13h30 GMT) – South Africa vs Mozambique
15h30 (13h30 GMT) – Zimbabwe vs Lesotho
12h30 (10h30 GMT) – Eswatini vs Botswana
GROUP A P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Mozambique 2 2 0 0 3 0 3 6
South Africa 2 1 1 0 9 2 7 4
Zimbabwe 2 0 1 1 2 4 -2 1
Lesotho 2 0 0 2 0 8 -8 0
GROUP B P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Zambia 2 2 0 0 3 0 3 6
Namibia 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
Malawi 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
Comoros 2 0 0 2 0 3 -3 0
GROUP C P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Eswatini 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
Angola 2 1 0 1 4 1 3 3
Botswana 1 0 0 1 0 4 -4 0
Matches Played: 10
Goals scored: 26
Biggest victory: Lesotho 0 South Africa 7 (December 6)
Most goals in a game: 7 – Lesotho 0 South Africa 7 (December 6)