The Malawi Under 17 Boys and Girls’ national football teams on Monday started their final preparations ahead of next month’s 2022 Cosafa Championships to be held in Lilongwe as part of the 2022 AUSC Regional Five games.
Both teams are camping at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences in Blantyre and training at St Andrews High School.
Declreck Msakakuwona, the Boy’s team coach, has summoned 20 players who passed the preliminary Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) age verification test which FAM conducted last week as a precautionary measure to ensure that only those that are likely to pass the CAF age test make it in the final squad.
This year’s tournament being an AFCON qualifier, requires a mandatory MRI test for players from all participating teams a few days before the competition.
FAM Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said :“As per Malawi National Sports Council guidance each football team is expected to have 20 players in its final squad and this what we have at the moment. They underwent the tests last week and their results were certified by a CAF doctor.
“We had 32 players and others failed while others were between the red and green flag and are at risk of not making it during the CAF Tests. Considering that during the CAF tests if one player fails the test the whole team is disqualified , we are not taking chances.
“We are glad that we have a team that is eligible for the competition. However, we are sympathetic to other kids who did not make it because of the MRI though their documentation was in order. We will continue working with them for the U20.”
Msakakuwona said he has a squad that will fight for honours on home soil.
“We still have a strong squad that will compete at the games and qualify for AFCON. We have been working with this group for six months. Seven players were part of the squad that went to the Lesotho games last year and were regulars. So that gives us the much-needed experience for this competition,” said Msakakuwona.
Malawi boys are in group A alongside Botswana and Namibia.
Meanwhile the Girls team have been drawn in group A of the 2022 Cosafa U17 Girls’ Championship alongside South Africa and Mauritius.
The competition initially had one pool of five teams but Comoros requested for a late entry thereby changing the format of the competition into two groups of three teams each.
Group B has defending champions Zambia, Botswana, and Comoros.
Top two teams in each group will progress to the Semifinals.
Coach Trevour Kajawa said: “We are looking forward to the tournament. This is a big moment for the girls as we will be parading a first ever Under 17 girls’ team at international level and we will do the best of our abilities to get results.”
Goalkeepers: Julius Banda, Shabiru Muhammad, Raheem Chimwaza
Defenders: Gannet Kamwambe, Charles Matanda, Elias Muywanga, Hermace Masinja, Washari Jaziya, Comfort Unyolo, Misheck Jere
Midfielders: Blessings Kanowa, Holyce Chuzu,. Dominic Kayamba, Mwisho Mhamgo, Mphatso Likhunya, Misheck Billiat, Modrick Kambendera
Strikers: Vincent Harrison, Webster Nzunda, Lucky Mkandawire
Goalkeepers : Ester Maulidi, Shakira Austin,
Defenders: Kettie Munthali,,Faith Chinzimu,Talandira Chinyamvula, Evelyn Nthala, Ruth Mandala, Mercy Wasi, Olivia Phikani
Midfielders: Anna Baziliyo,Linda Manda, Rose Kadzele, Salah Mulimbika, Caroline Mlezo,Mary Mbalangwe, Tiwonge ChirwaChikondi Mgodi,
Strikers: Glory Sichinga,Mary Chindeya, Leticia Chinyamula