Malawi Under-17 Men’s National Football Team has suffered a setback after 14 players have been deemed overaged ahead of the Region 5 Youth Games slated for Lilongwe from December 2 to 11.
About 32 players underwent sessions Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan to authenticate their age and 18 passed the test.
MNCS Public Relations and Communications Officer Edgar Ntulumbwa confirmed the development, saying there were no immediate plans to replace the 14 players that have failed age test.
“We have discussed with the technical panel and their immediate reaction is that they will not make any additions to the squad. They feel we should concentrate on working with the 18 that are remaining,” he said.
Ntulumbwa said they had taken the news positively.
“We are actually happy that we carried out the process earlier; otherwise, we could have been penalised,” he said.
Malawi Under-17 were drawn in Group A alongside Botswana and Namibia in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Cosafa Zone qualifiers.
The Cosafa Zone qualifiers will be played during the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games
Nine teams will take part in the competition. Group B comprises holders Angola, South Africa and Mauritius whereas Zambia, Mozambique and Seychelles are in Group C.
The winner in each group and the overall best runner-up will qualify for the semifinals. Finalists will qualify for the U-17 Afcon finals to be staged in Algeria next year.
Interestingly, Malawi last qualified for the U-17 Afcon finals when they were held in Algeria in 2009 under the tutelage of John Kaputa.
The junior Flames went on to qualify for the World Cup in 2010 in Nigeria.