The Warriors of Zimbabwe and the Flames of Malawi played out a lifeless goalless draw in an international friendly played at the Mpira Stadium in Blantyre on Sunday.
Taking charge of the national team for the first time his appointment in February, coach Zdravko Logarusic threw into the fray the South African-based duo of Khama Billiat and Charlton Mashumba in attack, Marvelous Nakamba in midfield as well as the ever-reliable partnership of Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu in the heart of defense.
Malawi dominated the early exchanges in the first half and were the first to threaten; Precious Sambani’s effort going wide of Talbert Shumba‘s goal.
The Warriors struggled to create any goal-scoring opportunities in the first stanza; with Malawi the better side in that regard.
Meck Mwase’s Flames should have taken the lead in the 39th minute but Chimwemwe Idana wasted a glorious opportunity when he blazed his effort from close range, over the cross bar.
Mashumba had a decent chance go give the Warriors the lead on the stroke of half time but his weak shot caused very little trouble for Malawi goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe.
Neither side could break the deadlock and they went to the half time interval goalless.
Logarušić made his first change at the beginning of the second half, bringing Evans Katema for Mashumba and King Nadolo for McClive Phiri.
Both sides still couldn’t create any clear chances and it took until the 70th minute for Zimbabwe to pose a real threat; Katema intercepting a pass and setting up Billiat, but the Kaizer Chiefs man’s effort went over the cross bar.
The Warriors had Shumba to thank moments later, when the Triangle goalie made a great save to deny substitute Richard Mbulu from close range.
Billiat was struggling to make an impact on the game, and his last touch in the box after a Warriors counter was saw the chance wasted.
He was eventually replaced by Ian Nekati with a minute of regulation time remaining.
Malawi almost stole it right at the death but Shumba came to the rescue once again, denying Mocien Mhone inside the box, to ensure Logarušić’s first game in charge ends in at least a draw.