Flames coach Ernest Mtawali has not minced words but being frank by telling his charges that the team’s destiny at the COSAFA Castle Cup tournament is in their own hands as they prepare to face Lesotho in a group B decider this evening.
Flames are now second in the Group B tied at six points with leaders Lesotho who have a goal superior. Lesotho beat Angola 2-0 earlier on Tuesday to maximize their chance of topping the group.
Flames need to overcome Lesotho at all cost in their last game of the group if are to qualify into the knockout stages.
Miracle Gabeya, who turned 24 on Tuesday, scored the only goal of the game against Mauritius in the 47th minute to keep the Flames in the contention of qualifying from Group B to the quarter-finals of the regional tournament.
“We played very well today. We kept possession and did not lose balls unnecessarily like in previous matches. Yes we struggled to score but we won and stayed at par with the group winners. Now it is up to us to win on Thursday,” said Mtawali.
“The players have showed they are ready to die for country as they played today and if they can take the same spirit into Thursday’s match there is no doubt we will carry the day”.
Mtawali also praised Gabeya and Gerald Phiri Junior who delivered the killer corner kick that set up Gabeya for their contribution to the Flames win
“Gabeya’s performance was solid and he deservedly won that man of the match. What a match he had on his birthday. And for Phiri he wasted some good set pieces in the first half but made amends with nice deliveries in the second half,” he said.
The win against the Dodos of Mauritius is a second victory in a row for the team that was beaten by Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group L qualifiers a fortnight ago.
Coach Earnest Mtawali maintained the selected 11 that out-marshaled the young Angolans on Sunday, as the team showed class and fighting spirit against the composed Mauritius who started the game on high pace, threatening the Flames goalkeeper thrice in a space of five minutes.