“It must have been good but I lost it somehow…from the moment we touched, ‘til the time had run out,’ so goes part of Roxette’s hit song ‘It must have been love but it’s over now”.
And so the Malawi Under-17 national team’s remarkable run at the Cosafa Youth Championship in Mauritius, which charmed the entire nation, came to a heart-breaking end yesterday morning when they lost 2-0 to tournament favourites Zambia’s Junior Chipolopolo at Francois Xavier Stadium in Port Louis.
Despite the setback, Malawi, who tomorrow face the other losing semi-finalists in the match between South Africa and the hosts in a third-place match, will head back home with their heads held high knowing that they gave their best shot for the cause of their motherland.
The solace was that Malawi’s captain Haji Wali was named the man-of-the-match.
According to updates posted on cosafa.com, the Junior Flames were 0-2 down in under 10 minutes through goals from Martin Njobvu (fourth minute) and Lameck Banda (seventh minute).
It was the first time the Junior Flames had conceded in the tournament after finishing the group stages with a 100 percent record to prove that clean sheets are not only found in laundries.
They beat Botswana’s Young Zebras 2-0 then went on to add Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors to their growing list of casualties with a 5-0 thumping before seeing-off the hosts 2-0.
Assistant coach Peter ‘Mjojo’ Mponda said all was not lost as the Junior Flames will fight for the bronze in tomorrow’s showdown.
“It was a good learning experience for the boys. We lost the game in the first 15 minutes, but apart from that period, their performance was satisfactory.
“We represented the nation well and we will fight for the third slot on Sunday. The most encouraging thing is that the lads have shown that in them, we have a future and all we need to do is nurture them,” he said. n