One great hero for the Malawi National Football Team (Flames) as far as the 1987 All Africa Games are concerned is Frank Sinalo.
Though he was sent back home packing from the 1987 All Africa Games in Kenya on disciplinary grounds by no nonsense Coach Reuben Malola, Frank Sinalo had scored two important goals against Zambia that enabled Flames dramatically qualify for the 1987 All Africa Games.
This was like a bitter revenge for the Flames against Zambia after the Flames lost to Zambia in a CECAFA final match on 15 December 1984 in Kampala that saw Zambia win CECAFA cup for the first time thereby robbing the Flames a chance to clinch it for the third time.
To decide which team would represent Zone 6 (Southern Africa) at the All Africa Games in Kenya in August 1987, Flames had to play against Zambia at home and away.
The first game was played on 5th April 1987 at the Independence Stadium in Lusaka.
When the Flames were trailing 2-0, Zambia got a penalty which was taken by Kalusha Bwalya. Flames goalie John Dzimbiri saved it beautifully.
But the referee ordered that Kalusha Bwalya should retake it claiming that John Dzimbiri had stepped inside before Kalusha Bwalya kicked the penalty. Kalusha Bwalya then scored to make it 3-0.
This is when Frank Sinalo rose to the occasion to net a magnificent goal with a scissors kick. The match ended 3-1.
In the return match at Kamuzu Stadium on 19 April 1987, Flames were supposed to win by 2-0 to qualify for the final tournament of the 1987 All Africa Games.
And indeed the Flames achieved it. Frank Sinalo scored the first goal with a scissors kick like in Lusaka which other soccer analysts and historians like Inno Chanza claim it remains the most brilliant goal even seen at Kamuzu Stadium since then. The second goal was delivered by Holman Malunga.
In the Flames squad that participated at the All Africa Games in August 1987 in Kenya and won the bronze medals, John Dzimbiri was the most senior player and the only surviving remnant from the 1978 squad that won the CECAFA cup.
Not only that but it is also reported that at this 1987 All Africa Games, John Dzimbiri feutured as the oldest player in the whole tournament.
Interestingly too, the youngest player in the entire tournament was Mavuto Lungu then aged about 17. The Flames featured both the youngest and oldest players at the 1987 All Africa Games.
And above all, the golden boot award for top goal scorer at the same tournament also went to Flames player by the name of Lawrence Waya who netted five goals.
This All Africa Games tournament was of more or less similar magnitude like AFCON. Africa’s heavy weight teams that participated at the 1987 All Africa Games included: Egypt, Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tunisia among others.
In the tournament, the Flames beat Egypt which nevertheless won the cup Senegal and Cameroon.