CALL-UP FURORE: Fam justifies U-20 players’ inclusion
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has justified the inclusion of two under-20 players in the senior national football team, the Flames, currently in pre-camp training at Mpira Village in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre.
Peter Banda and Chimwemwe Idana are in camp with the Flames despite not playing for the under-20 national team or any Super League side.
But Fam Youth Development Officer, James Sangala, who is also the Flames Team Manager, said the two were called up after impressing Head Coach, Ronny van Geneugden, during last week’s under-20 pre-camp training.
Sangala said, while it was true that Banda and Idana lack experience at under-20 national team or Super League levels, the call-up was aimed at preparing them for future challenges.
“The coach saw something in the two players and he would like to prepare them for future challenges. They will certainly learn something from the senior players. It is about planning for the future.
“The Coach has always emphasised that any player who proves that he is good enough will be called up to the national team as long as he is Malawian. The door is wide open for any Malawian player to feature for the Flames,” Sangala said.
Former national team midfielder, Sherry Msuku, said including junior players in the senior national team was not a new phenomenon.
“I remember being called up for national team training when I was very young. I even attempted to run away from camp at Domasi in Zomba. But the experience I gained from that training session helped me to become a mature player.
“In those days, young players were being called up for national team training just to appreciate what goes on there,” Msuku said.
Other players who were on last week’s under-20 call-up list and are part of the four-day camp session are Mark Fodya, William Thole, Levison Maganizo and Mike Mkwate.
But seasoned Capital Radio sports journalist Madalitso Phiri yesterday said the inclusion of the young duo was a classic example of mismanaging national team players.
“We seem to jump the queue quite a lot. We are not following procedures. These players should come from the under-17, under-20, under-23 then the senior team. What is happening leads to young players’ burnout. A recent example is that of Brighton Munthali who was criticised after conceding a goal while playing for the Flames and it took him time to bounce back,” Phiri said.
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