Swaziland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Malawi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(0) 1
A 10-MAN Swaziland played a game of their life in the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games and disturbed log leaders Malawi when they held them to a 1-1 draw in a Group A men’s football match at Barbourfields (BF) Stadium yesterday.
The draw makes life difficult for Malawi, second-placed Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors and Angola as they battle for a top-two finish in the group to qualify for the semi-finals.
Swaziland scored first with troublesome Wandile Dlamini in the 38th minute and they could have held on to that goal to be in contention until they allowed Malawi’s Yusuf Luwanda to equalise five minutes before full-time.
Melusi Nyaweni was given his marching orders by South African referee Thando Ndzandzeka in the 52nd minute for a crude tackle on Malawi’s Edwin Carlos.
It was a second bookable offence after another crude tackle on Gregory Nachipo in the 22nd minute. Swaziland have joined Mozambique and the two are now out of the competition.
Malawi, leading the pack with seven points, need a win or draw against Zimbabwe this afternoon to get a semi-final berth while the Young Warriors, with five points, need nothing short of a victory against the log leaders.
Angola on four points take on Swaziland this afternoon at Luveve Stadium and if they win they will go to seven points, but will be behind head-to-head after they lost 0-1 to Malawi, putting the Young Warriors in a precarious position.
A loss to Swaziland by Angola this afternoon will see Malawi and the Young Warriors qualifying and they will play for the top finish on Friday at BF tomorrow.
Dlamini had a good game for Swaziland as he troubled Malawi up front together with Justice Figareido. Swaziland coach Velekhaya Mthethwa — who lost his first match 1-3 to Zimbabwe at Luveve Stadium on Monday — was a happy man after the Malawi game.
“We played better today (yesterday),” he said.
“We were better focused and mentally ready, but in the last 10 minutes the boys let Malawi back into the game. The red card took us into defensive mode and we threw away chances of picking up maximum points.
“We made one mistake and they scored. However, the future is bright for Swaziland football if you have four or five players with the potential of making it to the senior team. That is all about development.”
Meanwhile, Zambia have booked a place in the semi-finals after dispatching hapless Lesotho 4-0 at BF yesterday while Namibia also went through after playing a goalless draw with South Africa at Luveve Stadium.
Swaziland: L Simelane, N Simelane, N Dlamini, M Msibi, K Dlamini (M Msane 59th minute), M Khumalo, Z Langa, W Dlamini, J Figareido, M Dlamini (B Simelane 76th minute), M Nyaweni (red card 52nd minute)
Malawi: C Mikuwa, M Njuga, N Luhanga, G Nachipo, S Mdoka, K Saunde, E Carlos, Y Luwanda, E Lino, N Nyasulu, P Msosa (R Kamwendo 76th minute)