The Flames of Malawi fired blanks following a barren draw against Zimbabwe’s Warriors in a friendly at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre on Sunday.
Malawi coach Meke Mwase, whose charges are preparing for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Burkina Faso next month, made five changes to the starting line-up that lost 1-0 in Zambia on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe, defender Peter Cholopi, midfielder Chimwemwe Idana, forward Schumacher Kuwali and midfielder Chikoti Chirwa started in place of Bright Munthali, Denis Chembezi, Chimango Kaira, Richard Mbulu and Gerald Phiri Junior respectively.
Zimbabwe were without most of their regulars, including Belgium-based captain Knowledge Musona and France-based Tinotenda Kadewere after their invitations were reportedly sent late to their clubs.
The hosts wasted glorious opportunities when Chimwemwe Idana and Gabadinho Mhango, the Premier Soccer League top scorer in South Africa, missed clear chances in the 39th and 43rd minutes respectively.
After settling into the game, Malawi had their best chance when Yamikani Chester raced clear on the right wing before cutting the ball across the Zimbabwe goal-mouth. Arriving at the back-post, Idana volleyed the ball into the sky.
If that was a bad miss, what followed four minute later was worse. Mhango raced and breached the high defensive line, turned his last marker inside-out then did all his work injustice by bending his effort over the bar.
Passing to Kuwali, who had an open goal in front of him, could have made more sense. That proved to be Malawi’s last chance as the opening half ended goalless.
The second-half started on a balanced note. Malawi coach Meke Mwase introduced Kaira in place of injured Chirwa whereas Phiri and Mbulu eventually came in for Idana and Chester respectively in an offensive move.
A few minutes later, Kuwali made way for Micium Mhone who nearly scored from a tight angle but Zimbabwe goalkeeper Talbert Shumba smothered the effort.
The Warriors did not trouble Kakhobwe who was as good as on holiday the entire game. Zimbabwe were surely the happier of the two sides after the game.
Malawi: Kakhobwe, Charles Petro, Peter Cholopi, Stanley Sanudi, Precious Sambani, Kuwali (Mhone), John Banda, Idana (Mbulu), Chirwa (Kaira), Chester (Phiri), Mhango (Andrew Malisero).
Zimbabwe: Shumba, Maclive Phiri, Devine Lunga, Alec Mudimu (Jimmy Dzingai), Teenage Hadebe, Marvelous Nakamba, Gilrow Chimwemwe, Tanara Chinyahara, Charlton Musumba, Khama Billiat (Ian Nekati), Tafadzwa Rusike