First, it was a costly barren draw last Wednesday, then on Monday, Namibia coach Roger Palmgren jumped the Brave Warriors’ ship in a huff. That left the Flames with their own battle and war to win today against Kenya’s Harambee Stars.
That Kamuzu Stadium draw, which many attribute to the absence of Gabadinho Mhango, leaves the Flames with one option in the African race for a place at the final qualifiers of the 2014 World Cup—a win.
Gabadinho, who missed out on the Namibia match as he was taking his Junior Certificate of Education examinations, is likely to return. His goal in Big Bullets’ 1-1 draw with Evirom in Saturday’s warm-up match at Kamuzu Stadium suggests he is not off form.
Reports from last week’s match also suggest that luck might have deserted the Flames. Esau Kanyenda and Douglas Chirambo came close, beating the Namibia goalkeeper, but not the stubborn posts. In football, they say luck exists.
Flames may need an ounce of luck today and also demand better service from the strikers.
Obviously, pressure will be immense. Other analysts suggest creating chances is the root of the Flames’ impotence. Robert Ng’ambi has to transfer his Platinum Stars form to country.
The crowd will from the first whistle demand an early goal, but in football, you have to stick to your plan, never hurry play for the sake of it.
Flames experienced players such as Kanyenda have a burden of leading the young charges in soaking up the pressure and dealing with frustrations in case that goal does not come.
A draw, let alone, a loss, could as well end Flames’ hopes of advancing to the next round of the qualifiers. Any other result, save for a win, would not be good enough for the CV of Eddington Ng’onamo and his crew. This is the last of their three-match target FAM set them.
Forget that Ng’onamo told The Nation on Monday that he is not under pressure. Pressure is part of football.
An offer for a full-time job is at stake here for the coaches. So far, the coaches have in the mandatory two competitive games won one, drawn the other, scoring one goal without conceding.
Assistant coach Patrick Mabedi told Radio Two FM on Tuesday that “all what happened is water under the bridge. We have to grind out a result.”
This suggests the Flames are ready to, if necessary win ugly; sacrifice style on the altar of efficiency. A win is a win. After all, the options are thinner for the Flames in view of Namibia coach’s resignation.
The Brave Warriors will likely be disjointed in welcoming Group F leaders Nigeria today. The Super Eagles lead on eight points, two ahead of Malawi, and four in front of their hosts.
Kenya anchor the group, but their coach Adel Amrouche remains calm.
“I am minding my own business. What happens for Namibia or other teams is not my cup of coffee. I know where to take my team,” Amrouche insisted on Monday.