Malawi look to Mhango to overcome Warriors

Kamwendo confident Pirates man can lead fightback

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Gabadinho Mhango of Malawi seen here in action against Ivory Coast last year, is set to return to the side as they take on Zimbabwe in the Afcon this afternoon.
Gabadinho Mhango of Malawi seen here in action against Ivory Coast last year, is set to return to the side as they take on Zimbabwe in the Afcon this afternoon.
Image: Samuel Shivambu

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.

Weekend fixtures

Today

Senegal vs Guinea, 3pm

Malawi vs Zimbabwe, 6pm

Morocco vs Comoros, 6pm

Gabon vs Ghana, 9pm.

Tomorrow

Nigeria vs Gabon, 6pm

Guinea-Bissau vs Egypt, 9pm.

Sunday

Gambia vs Mali, 3pm

Ivory Coast vs Sierra Leone, 6pm

Tunisia vs Mauritania, 6pm

Algeria vs Equatorial Guinea, 9pm.

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