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De Klerk Msakakuona maintained as Flames Under-17 mentor

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Technical and Youth Subcommittee has maintained De Klerk Msakakuona as Malawi Under 17 national team coach ahead of next month’s Cosafa Youth Championship in Mauritius.

The former Blue Eagles mentor will be assisted by Wizards Technical Director, Peter Mponda, whereas Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves coach, Enos Chatama, has been re-assigned to the team as team manager from the Under 20 side where he was assistant coach.

Victor Jobo is the teams’ physiotherapist with Heathwin Mkumbaleza being engaged as goalkeeper coach.

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Ironically, both Msakakuona and Mponda are part of the senior Flames technical set-up after being named assistant coaches alongside Gerald Phiri Senior.

The development means Tione Mhone and Mike Banda have been left out of the team’s set up this time.

Mhone was assistant coach while Banda was team manager when the junior Flames finished third in Mauritius last year.

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Fam Vice President, James Mwenda, confirmed the new panel, saying Msakakuona was maintained following the teams’ outstanding display in last year’s tournament.

“We feel we should give him more time to build on last year’s success. The move will provide continuity as well,” Mwenda said.

He also stated that Fam would work jointly with different stakeholders to identify players for the team.

“We have several stakeholders, including the National Youth Football Association, that we have earmarked to help in identifying the right players for us to build a strong team,” he said.

Fam Technical Director, John Kaputa, said there are arrangements to select the team from various developmental structures including the Fifa- Fam Under-16 Regional Leagues and Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) competitions.

“Scouts have been on the ground selecting exciting talent from the Fifa-Fam Under-16 Regional Leagues. Each region will be required to form a select side to compete during the national trials to be held at Chiwembe Technical Centre on June 24 and 25. Others will be selected from the team that won bronze during last year’s tournament,” he said.

He said the technical panel will also consider Under-15 players who were part of Massa’s team that competed in a recent tournament in South Africa.

“We have cast our net wider to consider all eligible players from Nsanje to Chitipa. The successful players will also undergo an MRI scan to validate their ages. We do not want to be caught in issues to do with age-cheating,” he said.

The final selection of the players will be done through a two-day national selection tournament.

The junior Flames have been drawn against the hosts Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Botswana in group A whereas group B is made up of South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Madagascar.

Champions Namibia have opted not to compete.

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