Location: Kamuzu Stadium, Malawi
PROFILE: Chiukepo Msowoya
Until recently, Malawian football has been nothing to write home about. The memory of their 1984 appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations was starting to grow dim and supporters of The Flames, as they are affectionately known, were starting to lose hope.
With a grand entrance, The Flames thumped World Cup finalists, Algeria 3-0 on January 11, 2010, propelling them into the quarter final of the tournament that doubled as a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Much of their success has been attributed to the rising soccer star, Chiukepo Msowoya, who has been nicknamed ‘Wonderstriker’ on the official FIFA World Cup website.
The 21-year-old plays for Liga Malcumana Football Club in Maputo, Mozambique. He has scored nine of the all-important goals in the World Cup qualifiers that have allowed The Flames to regain the respect of their football contemporaries.
The Malawian national team has impressed fans by beating some of the continent’s big names in football such as Egypt, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chiukepo and his team mates trained hard in the run up to the qualifier against one of Africa’s soccer powerhouses, Ivory Coast. The match ended in a one-all draw.
The Flames’ wonderstriker has revived the nation’s pride in its football team and proves to be one to watch in the weeks and months to come.