Malawi delights in Zambia win

Revered Malawian soccer personalities and fans could not resist the temptation of taking pleasure in neighbouring Zambia’s 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Cup opening match 2-1 upset over Senegal’s Teranga Lions on Saturday in Equatorial Guinea.

The Flames are not part of the continent’s biggest football showpiece having missed out at the very last minute when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Chad. However, Flames coach Kinnah Phiri and captain Peter ‘Mjojo’ Mponda have saluted Chipolopolo for their impressive triumph over the former World Cup quarter-finalists.

Kinnah said Chipolopolo’s win reminded him of the Flames’ 3-0 victory over Algeria at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations when they basked in the global limelight as their romantic flirtation with the continental showpiece reached new heights.

“We failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations [and] it is painful to watch the event on TV, but our brothers Zambia provided solace by beating Senegal who were the favourites. I was very happy for them,” Kinnah said.

He also said the win was not only for Zambia, but for the entire Cosafa bloc.

Mponda said the Flames can draw lessons from Chipolopolo’s win that self-belief also counts in this beautiful game.

“Very few gave the Zambians a chance. The odds were overwhelmingly tipped in Senegal’s favour, but they [Zambia] defied all odds and displayed sheer determination to win the game.

“It is unfortunate that we are not there. Hopefully, we can draw lessons from their win that with self-belief and willpower, it is possible. I watched the entire game on TV and I could not help, but admire Zambia,” said Mponda from Cape Town on Sunday.

The Flames skipper also said it is important that Malawi’s players should not just enjoy the event on TV, but learn from it.

There were jubilant scenes at Pa Kamba drinking joint in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, as soccer fans feasted on Zambia’s win. Stevie Mussa, who watched the game from Pa Sequecy’s pub, said Chipolopolo’s win provided Malawians with amusement.

“With our team having failed to qualify, we could not help to revel in our brothers’ win,” he said.

Mussa added: “Just look at the atmosphere here, it is like the Flames winning and not Zambia. I will drink for Chipolopolo tonight.”

Emmanuel Mayuka opened the scoring for Zambia after 12 minutes before Rainford Kalaba doubled the lead. Senegal’s consolation goal was scored in the second-half by Copenhagen forward Guirane Ndaw.

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