Malawi look to Mhango to overcome Warriors
Kamwendo confident Pirates man can lead fightback
Former Malawi captain Joseph Kamwendo is banking on the availability of marksman Gabadinho Mhango when the Flames trade blows with fellow southern Africans Zimbabwe in their second Group B tie of the Africa Cup on Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon today at 6pm.
Mhango, who is on the books of Premier Soccer League heavyweights Orlando Pirates, missed Malawi’s opener that they lost 1-0 against Guinea on Monday due to Covid-19.
Covid-19 hit Malawi so hard that they had only three outfield players (Richard Mbulu, Zebron Kalima and William Thole) and goalkeeper Charles Thomu on their bench against Guinea. On Wednesday, the Malawi Football Association confirmed all their 28 players had now tested negative, meaning they qualify for selection against the Warriors.
“Against Guinea we didn’t have our best players... the likes of Mhango, Gerald Phiri and [Stanley] Sanudi would have made a huge difference against Guinea. We played very well but we lacked that cutting edge and I believe with Gabadinho back things will be different against Zimbabwe,’’ Kamwendo told Sowetan from Malawi yesterday.
“Gabadinho has been scoring goals for us. He’s our main striker. If we can create as many chances as we did against Guinea, Mhango will score. I am confident of that.’’
Kamwendo expects Zimbabwe to be a tough nut to crack for the Flames. The Warriors nearly snatched a valuable point against tournament favourites Senegal in their opener earlier in the week, with Sadio Mane’s 97th-minute penalty subjecting them to a slender defeat.
“This is a derby because Zimbabwe also come from the Cosafa region. Derbies are always difficult. The fact that they also lost they first game will mean they are hungry as us to win, so it won’t be easy for us. The one who wants it the most will win, I think,’’ said Kamwendo, who recently established his football academy in Malawi.
Zimbabwe will be looking to Knowledge Musona to help them bounce back from the heartbreaking defeat to Senegal.
Senegal vs Guinea, 3pm
Malawi vs Zimbabwe, 6pm
Morocco vs Comoros, 6pm
Gabon vs Ghana, 9pm.
Nigeria vs Gabon, 6pm
Guinea-Bissau vs Egypt, 9pm.
Gambia vs Mali, 3pm
Ivory Coast vs Sierra Leone, 6pm
Tunisia vs Mauritania, 6pm
Algeria vs Equatorial Guinea, 9pm.
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