Phiri Jnr steals show at Cosafa

Malawi capped a sterling performance at Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) tournament with midfielder Gerald Phiri Jnr named Player of the Tournament during the prize presentation yesterday.

Phiri Jnr, who bagged three goals, was a joint-top scorer with compatriot Gabadinho Mhango and Mauritian Ashley Nazira.

The Flames also won the fairplay award and were the only team to register high score 3-0 over Seychelles.

Malawi’s Richard Mbulu was among second top goal scorers with two goals each.

Phiri Jnr (L) in action against Comoros in the Plate semi-finals

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) executive member Rashid Ntelera, who was leader of delegation said he was not surprised with the awards.

“It’s not something which is a surprise. From the word go, there was a fighting spirit among the players although the squad only assembled for four days.

“What is encouraging is, it is a squad of young players with a future who have stayed together and cultivated a spirit of oneness,” he said.

Phiri Jnr (R) and Gabadinho lift the trophy

Ntelera also commended the rapport existing between the players and the technical panel.

Meanwhile, Zambia beat Botswana 1-0 through Tapson Kaseba’s 78th minute goal.

Phiri received R20 000 (about K1 million) while Gabadinho will share the R20 000 (about K1 million) with the other joint top scorers.

Meanwhile the impeccable performance of the Flames rewarded Phiri Jnr who has signed a three-year deal with South Africa top league outift Baroka FC.

South Africa media broke the news yesterday in the afternoon after the club tweeted signing the Malawian international, who was a free agent, after Bidvest released him last year.

“Baroka have completed the signing of Malawi international Gerald Phiri Jnr on a three-year deal. The 26-year-old was a free agent after parting ways with Bidvest Wits last year,” reported.

Football analyst Kevin Moyo said the player deserved the move.

“I saw it coming. That’s a good move. A player of such technical ability needed to play in the top league not second tier.

“Morover, Baroka coach is also former Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda, kept an eye on the winger,” Moyo said.

Phiri failed to stake a claim in the Clever Boys’ starting line-up and ended up being loaned to Township Rollers of Botswana and South Africa’s Platinum Stars during his three-year relationship with Wits where his compatriot Gabadinho Mhango has seen his contract extended by one year.

The club tweeted,” we have signed Gerald Phiri Malawian International on three-year contract. It’s his birthday today.”

Phiri, who was in action for Malawi at the Cosafa Cup, put pen-to-paper on a three-year deal with the Telkom Knockout champions.

The former Be Forward Wanderers midfielder crowned his performance with three goals. He opened his score book when Malawi beat Seychelles 3-0, then saw off Namibia 2-1, and in the two-all draw against Zambia in open play.

The Chipolopolo booked their semi-final berth after winning the 4-2 in post match penalties.

He was man of the match twice to cap his brilliant performance.

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