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Malawi keeper rewarded land, cash for AFCON exploits

Malawi goalkeeper Charles Thom has been rewarded with pieces of land and cash for his exploits in the Flames stalemate versus Senegal at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Thom beat a seasoned team of footballers including Saido Mane to be named Man of the Match in Malawi’s last group game on Tuesday.

To earn the accolade, the debutant at this stage of the tournament put up a spectacular display in the Group ‘B’ game, starving goal-hungry Mane and his teammates who were considered favourites.

Some of the standouts moments for the keeper was when he leaped to send Habib Diallo’s shot over the bar before making another great save from Idrissa Gueye’s well taken free kick in the second stanza.

Tuesday’s draw with the continent’s top-ranked football nation puts the Flames in the third position of Group B with four points, same as second placed Guinea and one point behind leaders, Senegal who have five points.

The outcome, coupled with Egypt’s 1-0 victory over Sudan in Group D means Malawi qualifies as two of the four best third-placed sides.

It is the first time the flames will reach the knockout rounds of the tournament.

And Thom’s efforts have been handsomely rewarded.

According to Africa Top Sports news portal, two real estate firms in Malawi, Hills and Associates Limited and Sulsdec Green Villages have rewarded goalkeeper Thom with the pieces of land in the capital, Lilongwe where he turns out for Silver Strikers FC.

Meanwhile, the same report states that, IT company, Sparc Systems LTD has pledged him 1 million Malawi Kwacha (about Sh150,000) to the young goalkeeper for his impressive performance.

The news portal quotes, Wisely Phiri, Managing Director of the IT firm as telling the Malawi FA media they felt proud to associate with the exploits of the 22-year-old keeper who stepped in for injured Ernest Kakhobwe in the game against Senegal.

The goalkeeper is also quoted thanking the donors for the gesture said the biggest recognition should go to the whole team for the effort to get the results.

Earlier Hill and Associates also rewarded striker Gabadinho Mhango with a 20m x 30m piece of land valued at $5, 625 in the capital Lilongwe for scoring a brace in Malawi’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over Zimbabwe on Friday, per Africa Top Sports.

Furthermore, the firm offered the rest of the players a 40 percent discount for any piece of land they may wish to buy in recognition of their relatively impressive start to Group ‘B’ AFCON campaign.

Poultry and animal feed firm, Kelfoods, also offered each player for the 129th ranked team an eggs tray worth $4 for a year if they beat Senegal on Tuesday.

Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera had also pledged to reward each player $1,200 if the Flames beat Senegal, the report said.