Flames, Bafana clash in final

Malawi national football team’s moment of truth is here as the Flames face South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Cosafa Plate final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

To make it to the Plate final, Malawi beat fellow losing quarter-finalists Comoros 2-1 on Tuesday.

Flames celebrate after scoring in one of the group games

South Africa sealed their Plate final berth with a come-from-behind 1-1 draw with Uganda, before they triumphed 4-2 on post-match penalties.

Interim coach Meke Mwase said in an interview he expects a tough game against the hosts.

Mwase is aware that the team’s weakness is poor game management when leading.

Malawi has throughout the tournament started strongly and taken the lead in the first-half, only to concede in the second half.

The tactician observed that a change in mindset can help the players to manage the game well and keep the lead without going through the torture of conceding towards the end.

“We are coming from a history that we did not even have a chance to score goals. We are now scoring, but we are also conceding. I think the players relax when we are leading. This mentality has to stop. We need to be able to manage the game by ensuring that we do not lose concentration throughout the game,” said Mwase.

However, the coach also noted that fatigue was contributing to the Flames second-half loss of concentration.

Mwase said: “We have worked so hard. We have played five games. We are not looking back. We look forward to winning this Plate final.

“It is very good that we have reached this far. Looking back where we are coming from, it is not an easy feat.

“We failed to reach the final, but then we have made it this far and this is our chance to win the Plate final.

“When we were coming nobody gave us a chance that we could reach this far. But we have managed to reach the Plate final. The only thing remaining now is to win it.”

Former Flames defender Clement Kafwafwa advised the technical panel to work on defending set pieces.

“There are several ways they can do it. Two of them are zonal marking or man marking,” he said.

Bafana Bafana coach David Notoane is using the Cosafa Cup to fine-tune his squad ahead of an African Under-23 Championship qualifier against Zimbabwe in September‚ as well as give those on the fringes of Bafana Bafana selection for the Africa Cup of Nations a chance to shine.

The coach acknowledged that he faces a tough opponent in Malawi.

“We came here wanting to give game-time to players and see in terms of our preparation for Afcon and the Olympics,” he said.

“They are developing the level, some of them are playing in the National First Division‚ if you compare it to the quality of the opposition we are facing here, it will give us a true measure,” Notoane told SuperSport

Bafana are hoping to defend the Cosafa Plate which they won in 2018 after beating Botswana 3-0 in the final.

Ironically, Malawi beat South Africa 4-5 through post match penalties in the 2015 Plate semi-final and went on to win the final against Zambia.

This year the Plate winners will pocket R100 000 (about K5.5 million).

 The Cosafa Cup final will be played between Botswana and Zambia after beating Lesotho and Zimbabwe, respectively, in the semi-finals.

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