Malawi’s U-23 National football team has advanced to the second round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Africa regional qualifiers.
A one all draw against Botswana in a return match played at the Kamuzu stadium, was enough for the junior Flames to progress to the second round of the qualifiers.
The match was played in front of a promising crowd, ready to provide maximum morale to a team that just won their away assignment last Saturday in Gaborone, Botswana.
However, before kickoof, Flames supporters made their disapprovals known after noting that the initial squad was highly altered, as the technical panel brought in players from the senior national team.
Throughout the first half, the junior flames kept on chasing their own shadows, with senior players failing to live up to expectations.
Nonetheless, the introduction of Peter Banda and Francis Mkonda who replaced Patrick Phiri and Ernest Tambe respectively immediately paid dividends.
The super sub, Peter Banda put the host ahead in the 62nd minute before the visitors leveled the scores in the 93rd minute through Gape Mohutsiwa.
Soon after the game, Meke Mwase described his sides qualification to the next round as well deserved.
“My boys played with a lot of passion and determination. I am happy that we are through to the next round.
We hope to work on the shortfalls noticed in the two legged first round matches against Botswana”, Mwase said.
His counterpart Mogomotsi Mpote congratulated the junior flames for the qualification although he expressed disappointment at the one all draws result.
“I congratulate my brother Mwase for advancing to the next stage. My boys put up a gallant fight.
We took the game to their own backyard but luck wasn’t on our side.
“However, lots of positives to draw from these two matches”, MPOTE lamented.
The result means the Flames U-23 will now face Zambia in March next year to fight for a third round slot.