Malawi kicks off juniors tourney against Zimbabwe

Malawi Under-20’s hopes of winning the Four Nations Tournament which kicks off this afternoon at Silver Stadium hinges on the team starting strongly against Zimbabwe in the opening match.

Three teams, namely the hosts, Zimbabwe and Kenya are participating in the round robin format tourney and the team with highest points will carry the day.

This means Malawi has to beat Zimbabwe at all cost in this afternoon’s match to top the table.

Kenya and Zimbabwe clash on Friday before Malawi take on Kenya in the last fixture on Sunday.

Ironically, the last time Malawi and Zimbabwe met was at the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championship in South Africa and the match ended goalless.

The two sides managed to avoid each other until today when they clash in this tournament.

Malawi Under-20 national team coach Bob Mpinganjira said they are ready for the junior Warriors.

“We are set. All the preparations are going on well. All the players are fit. They are looking very sharp. We know Zimbabwe have a good under-20 national football team. But we are ready for the game.”

Mpinganjira has assembled squad of both new players and those that were part of the team that participated at the 2022 COSAFA Under-20 Championship.

After calling a provisional squad 40 players, he has picked 27 following two weeks training.

The squad has goalkeepers Amosi Sande (Ekhaya FC), Sheriff Swadick (FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves) and Julius Banda (Ascent Academy)

Defenders in the squad include Lazaro Witness (Agumbala FC), Washali Jaziya (Ascent Academy), Kondwani Tebulo(FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves), Watson Linguni(Blue Eagles Reserves), Edward Thengo (FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves), Zaneel Jussab (Manchester Motors) and Hermas Masinja (Ascent Academy)

He has also included midfielders Mwisho Mhango(Ascent Academy), Francis Malikebu (FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves), Oscar Petulo (FCB Nyasa Reserves), Daniel Kudonto (Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Reserves) Precious Kwalenga (Manchester Motor Spares FC), Antony Mwalilino (Chicago FC), Blessings Kanowa (FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves), Madalitso Mwachumu (Soche Madrid FC) , Haji Steven (FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves), Madalitso Safuli (Manchester Motor Spares FC), Chifunilo Kamenya (Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Reserves), Misheck Billiat (Namiwawa FC) and Wallece Adam (Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Reserves).

Strikers in the squad are Masambilo Kalua (Silver Strikers Reserves), Webster Mzunda (Blue Eagles Reserves), Chifundo Makawa (Blue Eagles Reserve) and Lucky Mkandawire (Destroyers Fc)
On the other hand, Young Warriors coach Simon Marange has a completely new squad as they return to the international stage after two year absence due to a 2022 FIFA ban.

He said: “There is a lot of excitement in the camp. You know when you have got young players, there is a lot of enthusiasm. It’s a good opportunity for these young players.”

The tactician said they are takin g the tournament seriously as they try to bring back the pride and integrity of the Zimbabwe football in the region.

“You know we have not been around for two to three years, so it’s the chance for us to bring back the right culture and the pride of playing the junior national team.

“So we are here to bring back the pride and the integrity of the Zimbabwe national team,” said Marange.

The Under-20 tournament which is being played parallel to eh seniors tournament.

The three teams are using the tournament to prepare for the Under-20 AFCVOPN qualifiers late this year.


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