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Party in the rain

In Africa sometimes when heavens open, it is a sign of good things to come. It rained heavily in Blantyre on Saturday afternoon.

Little did the red sea of fans know, they were in for a prolonged party in the rain.

With the artificial turf of Kamuzu Stadium properly watered, the Flames of Malawi stepped in to beat the Sparrow Hawks of Togo 1-0, thanks to the big short man, Moses Chavula’s wonder free-kick.

It has been a long time since the big short man Chavula set foot on the cathedral of Malawi football.

And when he did, for the first time in a year after being sidelined by irritating recurring harm-string injuries, it was with aplomb; firing home a 35-metre rocket of a free-kick into the bottom corner of Togo net.

Malawi leapfrogged Tunisia on the second place of group K of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with nine points from five games, without a loss, having scored 10 and conceded six.

Quite a huge improvement comparatively to the 2010 Nations Cup qualification campaign when Malawi qualified to the finals with a single win, a draw and four losses in the final qualifying round while leaking in 11 against four scored.

With six players from South Africa National First Division teams in the starting line-up, the sight of Flames on Saturday spoke volumes on not only depth but dropped a heavy hint of greatness.

Great teams or those with the potential for greatness are renowned for grinding out a result even on a bad day.

Not only were the Flames depleted without regulars Russel Mwafulirwa, Peter Mponda, Dave Banda and Hellings Mwakasungula but also showed potential of a great team.

It was of those days when the Flames struggled for their heritage of direct passing football.

The absence of the four key players due to injury and suspensions did not help coach Kinnah Phiri's cause either.

Togo, who were unsuccessful in recalling Emmanuel Adebayor, packed the midfield and for once, the absence of Flames' midfield anchors Dave Banda and Mwakasungula was missed big time.

It took a stroke of genius of Nathi Lions left back Chavula’s goal to change the complexion of the game.

In fact, the turning point was earlier on when goalkeeper Simplex Nthala saved Amenewo Komlan’s penalty awarded after Malawi defender James Sangala had handled a ball in the box.

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