Malawi have sealed their place in the semifinals of the TotalEnergies Under-17 AFCON Algeria 2023 | COSAFA Qualifier following a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Namibia in front of a packed house at the Bingu National Stadium on Sunday.
The win moves the home side to four points from their two games in Group A, and ensures they will be in the top two with Namibia and Botswana left to slug it out for the other semifinal place on Tuesday. The latter will need just a draw to advance.
The two finalists in this year’s competition, which forms part of the Region 5 Games Lilongwe 2022, qualify for the TotalEnergies U17 AFCON Algeria 2023 that will be played in April.
Namibia silenced the home crowd when they took the lead on 27 minutes as Dorian Nanuseb fired into the back of the net.
Malawi were level from the penalty spot as their incessant pressure paid dividends, and Blessings Kanowa converted from 12 yards.
They kept up the attacking play in the second half and were rewarded when Webster Mzunda slotted in the winner with seven minutes to play, to send the home support into raptures.
The second round of matches in Group B will be played on Monday when Mozambique take on South Africa (15h30 CAT) in a fixture the Young Mambas need to win after their opening loss to Zambia.
South Africa thumped Seychelles 11-0 in their first game and can seal a semifinal place with another win.
Zambia will be odds-on to do just that when they take on Seychelles in the later game (18h30).
There is also a return to action in the COSAFA Girls’ Under-17 Championship on Monday when defending champions Zambia will look for the point they need to secure top spot in Group B and a place in the semifinals.
They take on Comoros at 10h00 CAT, with the islanders having lost 8-0 to Botswana in their opening match. It would be a huge shock were they to claim a win.
South Africa have already wrapped up Group A, but the question over who will join them is very much alive. Malawi need just a draw against Namibia to advance, but it could be a fiercely contested fixture at 13h00 CAT.