Ghana's Black Stars failed to extinguish the Flames of Malawi in an international friendly scheduled to add match practice to both teams ahead of the 2010 African Cup of Nations finals in Angola.
The west Africans dominated most parts of the game and were highly tipped to floor their southern opponents but failed to find the net at the Mavuso Sports Centre in Swaziland on Tuesday night. They were fluid and sharper than their opponents but could not construct a good finish.
It was a game badly needed by the Serbian tactician, Milovan Rajevac, to test the physique and judgement of most of his young players, a good many of whom charmed the world in their under-20 World Cup win in Egypt.
The four-time African champions are bedevilled with injuries ahead of the 27th edition of the biggest sporting event of the continent. They are going to the tournament with youngsters most of whom have never experienced the Nations Cup.
Reports reached Goal.com that Ghana had to
pull out Asamoah Gyan before the game ended as a precaution.
However, Ghana expect to have a full squad today before they depart for Angola on Thursday. They play against neighbours Togo in their opening Group B match on January 11 in Cabinda.
Prior to the game, which served as the first international friendly for the Black Stars this year, Ghanaian fans saw the Malawians as minnows to stand in the way of their side and were unhappy about the choice of opposition.
“How hot are the Flames of Malawi? We should be playing top teams to really test our preparedness and not second class teams. This is a joke and a waste of time," Joseph Mintah told Goal.com in an earlier report.
“It is waste of resources. When the Ivory Coast are playing Germany and top European teams we are rather lowering our par. The GFA must rethink and think again if they really want us to win the Nations Cup.”
Cynthia Sowu, a medical student, feels aggrieved too. “It’s a shame. They are minnows. Malawi is an unknown country in the world of football. We'd be better playing the local teams here in Ghana than waste our energy on them. Someone needs to talk to these dictators at the FA.”
However, the outcome should let most Ghanaians eat humble pie.
K.N.S. Mensah, Goal.com