The Malawi national football team's 1-0 win against Botswana in the second leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers did not only bring joy to Malawians, but also offered hope to coach Meke Mwase that he finally has a team.
Gerald Phiri scored the only goal from the spot 80 minutes into play on Tuesday, after the lone striker Richard Mbulu was fouled in the 18-yard box.
This gave the Flames a chance to proceed to the group stages.
The two sides played to a goalless draw in the first leg played on Saturday at Francistown Stadium in Gaborone.
In reaction to the victory after the match, Mwase said going into the next phase he expects tough encounter.
"We have started reaping the fruits of our labour which we have been building for the past three years. Malawians can now agree with me that we have a team that is capable to compete at big competitions like Word Cup. The performance today speaks much about the effort being made by everyone to ensure the success of the team," he said.
Mwase maintained Brighton Munthali's on goals with Stanley Sanudi, Charles Petro, Peter Cholopi and Precious Sambani at the back.
It seems playing at home really plays a great role in the team's performance because the Flames proved tough in all areas thereby inviting cheers from the jam-packed Kamuzu Stadium.
John Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Phiri junior, Yamikani Chester and Gabadinho Mhango were a marvel to watch in the midfield, pressurising the visitors upfront.
Banda gave hope to the Flames the first minutes of play when he missed a great chance before Phiri also had his shot denied by the woodwork once again.
No wonder Mwase was ease making one substitution in the last minutes resting Mhango for Robin Ngalande, a time his counterpart had made three changes already for his side.
Botswana assistant coach Teena Mpote conceded defeat saying qualifying for the group stages would have been a bonus to the team.