Malawi and Zimbabwe draw in friendly

Malawi national team
Malawi national team

Malawi struggled to a 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe's second-string side in an international friendly warm-up ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in June.

The Flames took the lead through striker Robin Ngalande - the only foreign based player in the squad.

Ngalande tapped home after a Zimbabwean defensive lapse on 29 minutes.

The striker - who plays for South African club Bidvest Wits - was left out of the original squad, but was drafted in as a late addition.

Coach Edington Ng'onamo said Ngalande's performance has earned the striker a place in his squad to face Namibia on 5 June and Kenya a week later.

Kudakwashe Musharu equalised for the Warriors with an easy finish in the 74th minute, after Douglas Chirambo had hit the crossbar for Malawi.

The Zimbabwe forward knocked the ball home after Malawi keeper Owen Chinyama failed to cut a cross from the left.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the possession, but lacked clinical finishing.

Zimbabwe assistant coach Peter Ndlovu, however, said he was happy with the Warriors' display.

"This is a squad of local players, from where we will take maybe one or two players for our World Cup match at home to Egypt next month," Ndlovu said.

"But the match has been of great importance, because we will meet Malawi in July in the Cosafa Cup in Zambia.

"We now know better how Malawi play and I know they have also had the chance to see how our local players play."

The Flames are joint top of World Cup qualifying Group F with African champions Nigeria after three matches, with only the top team in each group going through to the next round to challenge for a place at the World Cup finals in Brazil next year.

Zimbabwe, who lie bottom of Group G, host the Pharaohs on 9 June, before meeting Guinea away on 16 June.

In Saturday's other friendlies, Ethiopia beat neighbours Sudan 2-0, with Ogrecho Saladin twice on target for the home side in Addis Ababa.

Saladin struck in the 73rd and 87th minutes to give the Ethiopians a confidence-boosting victory ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers against Botswana and South Africa in June.

Algeria edged out Mauritania 1-0 in Blida, with Islam Slimani scoring the only goal of the game on the hour mark.

In the weekend's other all-African friendly, Namibia and Zambia drew 0-0 in Windhoek.