Flames concede two goals in one minute against Zambia to lose 1-2 in 4-Nations third place play-off

Gaba was taken out in the 49th minute

* Flames pulled one back in the five minutes through Lawrence Chaziya to end first half at 2-1

* Despite making three other changes the visitors hung on to their lead to full time and four minutes of added time

By Duncan Mlanjira

Just after 16 minutes Zambia scored against Malawi in 4-Nations third place play-off and just a seconds later doubled their lead before the Flames pulled one back in the five minutes through Lawrence Chaziya to end first half at 2-1.


In the 34th minute, Frames coach Patrick Mabedi was forced to make a substitution by bringing in Nickson Mwase to replace injured Jubril Okediana.

He went on to make a triple substitution in the 49th minute, taking out Gabadinho Mhango, Patrick Mwaungulu and Lloyd Njaliwa for Chimwemwe Idana, Chifundo Mphasi and Chawangwa Kaonga.

Zambia’s Avram Grant also made changes in the 66th taking out Leicester City’s Patson Daka, Clatous Chama (Simba SC, Tanzania), Obinno Chisala (Costa Do Sol-Mozambique) and Gamphani Lungu — replacing them with Golden Mashata, Siankombo Abraham, Emmanuel Banda and Joshua Mutale.

Mabedi made further change in the 83 minute, bringing in Robert Saizi for Lanjesi Nkhoma but all to no avail as they fell 1-2 at the final whistle of which there four minutes of added time.

When they lost 0-4 against Kenya on Saturday in the opening match Mabedi attributed the loss to not being active since November when they played two matches of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Africa qualifiers.

Thus Mabedi said his charges were affected by pre-season blues, saying: “This team didn’t play a competitive match prior to the tournament. The preseason also affected our preparations.”

He added that they started sluggishly, we were too static — “in fact we didn’t show up in the first 25 minutes or so. When we started to get back, we had already conceded two goals. It’s not an excuse as we need to start finding solutions,” he was quoted as saying by Fam.mw.

The 4-Nations tournament, whose final match is underway between Zimbabwe and Kenya, presented a valuable opportunity for the four teams to prepare for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2025 AFCON qualifying campaigns.

Malawi’s Group H opponents for 2026 FIFA World Cup are Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Liberia and São Tomé e Principe while Kenya are in Group F with Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, The Gambia, Burundi and Seychelles.

Zimbabwe are in Group C alongside Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Rwanda and Lesotho with Zambia in Group E with Morocco, Congo, Tanzania, Niger and Eritrea.

The qualifying matches for the 2026 FIFA World Cup started in November and will resume in June in which the Flames are on 3rd position having beaten Liberia 1-0 away in Monrovia before losing by same margin against Tunisia here at home.

The Flames tie on 3 points with Namibia but Namibia are on second position on goal difference while Equatorial Guinea and Tunisia tie on six points after registering two wins in Match Day 1 & 2 in November but Tunisia are at the top having a goal difference of 5 against Equatorial Guinea’s two.

Equatorial Guinea first overcame Namibia 1-0 and Liberia also 1-0 while Tunisia first beat São Tomé e Principe 4-0 before beating the Flames 1-0 with Namibia seeing off Sao Tome e Principe 2-0.

After June, the next qualifying matches for Flames’ Group H will be in 2025 (March, September, October and November).

Meanwhile, the three visiting teams joined the Flames to plant trees along the By-Pass Road in Lilongwe as part of their environmental commitment and preserving a lasting legacy of the competition.

Head coaches and captains from the four squads led the exercise that had Lilongwe City Mayor Richard Banda, FAM president Fleetwood Haiya and sports director Jameson Ndalama also in attendance.—Pictures courtesy of FAM