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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Individual brilliance does not matter if Malawi cannot win matches – Banda

4:44 PM SGT 12/1/22
Peter Banda of Malawi during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Finals.
The 21-year-old midfielder warns him teammates to focus on winning games and getting points if they are to do well in Cameroon

Malawi midfielder Peter Banda has insisted individual brilliance will not take them anywhere if they don’t win matches at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Flames kicked off their campaign in the 33rd edition of the African competition with a 1-0 defeat against Guinea at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium on Monday.

The 21-year-old Banda, who currently turns out for Tanzania’s Mainland Premier League champions Simba SC, produced a spectacular performance against the Syli Nationale but could not help the Flames get something from the game.

“People are saying I had a good game. But I think by my standard that was not the best. I could have done better,” Banda said as quoted by Malawi FA's official website.

“But we have to look at the bigger picture. Football is about winning games and in this tournament at this level it is about getting points. We failed to get points despite playing well and creating more chances.

”So playing good and attractive football doesn’t count if you don’t win matches. I can’t be proud that I played well when I didn’t help my team to get points.”

Banda is also optimistic Malawi still stand a chance to qualify for the knockout stage despite suffering defeat in the opening fixture.

“In the remaining two games we need to improve our finishing because at this level we can’t afford to be missing such chances,” Banda continued.

“We still have a chance to qualify for the knockout stages and destiny is still in our hands. We just have to get the needed points in the remaining two games.”

The Flames went into the game without nine players who were down with Covid-19, among them Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango, Richard Mbulu, defenders Mark Fodya, Peter Cholopi, Lawrence Chaziya, Stanley Sanudi, midfielders Chikoti Chirwa, Charles Petro, and Robin Ngalande.

Ahead of their next fixture against Zimbabwe on Friday, Malawi have recalled five reserve players to boost their squad - Brighton Munthali, Paul Ndlovu, Dan Chimbalanga, Gerald Phiri, and Stain Dave.

The team also missed the services of their coach Mario Marinica against Guinea after he had also tested positive for Covid-19.

After playing the Warriors, the Flames will wind up their group matches with a fixture against Senegal, who beat Zimbabwe in their opener, on January 18.