The Malawi U-23 side made full use of home advantage in dispatching Lesotho 3-0 in Blantyre on Saturday.
The hosts, coached by Alex Masanjala popularly known in local circles as “Sir Alex”, scored through Frank Banda after 13 minutes before Anthony Banda grabbed the second goal. Green Harawa completed the scoring for The Junior Flames in the second half.
Masanjala was happy with what he called a healthy lead to take to Maseru, Lesotho. His Lesotho counterpart assistant coach, Moses Maliehe, said the tie was not yet over at all and warned that the return match would be another story.
“Malawi are a good side but it will be a totally different game,” he said.
In Lusaka, the Zimbabwe U-23 side upstage hosts Zambia by a 3-2 score line in the All-Africa Games 2011 preliminary round first leg.
The visitors, coached by Friday Phiri, were more purposeful and dominated the match for the greater part.
Simba Sithole struck a brace after 17 and 34 minutes and upcoming and highly rated striker Denver Mukamba added a third. Zambia scored through Chileshe Kwanga on 26 minutes and a vital second goal at the death from substitute Chakwa Lungu. The return leg is in Harare in a fortnight’s time.
Meanwhile, it has now been officially confirmed that the first leg Maputo All Africa Games qualifier match between the Junior Palancas Negras of Angola and South Africa’s Under-23 squad will now be played in Luanda on Sunday February 6 with the second leg scheduled for South Africa two weeks later.
The journey to Maputo gets underway this weekend, but South Africa have been initially excluded from the tournament after the country missed the entry deadline.
However, when Namibia withdrew, South Africa were late entrants who were slotted into the place of Namibia to face Angola.
It transpired however, that Angola received the news of their new opponents a tad too late and informed the Confederation of African Football (Caf) that it would not be possible to host South Africa this weekend due to a short notice about the fixture. Caf instructed Angola to communicate with South Africa.
“The instructions from Caf were that Angola should negotiate with us to find a new date that would be suitable to both countries,” said team manager Barney Kujane.
“Initially the Angolans suggested that we should play the first leg in Luanda on February 4.
“We in turn suggested February 9 for the mere fact that it is an official Fifa-sanctioned date and it would have allowed national U23 coach Ephraim Mashaba the latitude to select the best available U-23 players without concern that certain clubs will refuse to release their players.”
However, the Angolans then came up with another date and proposed February 6 as an alternative date and CEO Leslie Sedibe, after receiving the February 6 date agreed in writing with Augusto Pereira da Silva, the secretary-general of the Angolan Football Federation that the game will go ahead on that date.
“Following our late communication in regard to the All Africa Games fixture between Angola and South Africa,” wrote Da Silva to Sedibe as well as to Caf, “the Angolan Federation hereby confirms that the first leg fixture will be played at the Citadela Stadium in Luanda on February 6.”