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Don’t rule us out—Meke Mwase

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Football coaches, by their nature, thrive on optimism; hence words such as impossible hardly exist in their vocabulary.

Even when faced with a mountain to climb as is the case with Malawi under-20 national football team in Angola tomorrow, the Junior Flames Coach, Meke Mwase, remains optimistic.

Despite losing 1-2 to Angola at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday, Mwase, before departure for Angola on Thursday, insisted that his charges can beat the hosts

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“The fans should not be too worried with the first-leg loss. If anything, they need to encourage the boys because they are young and still learning.

“I have told the boys that Angola scored in Malawi and we, too, can do the same in Angola. All we need is to score a quick goal so as to unsettle them,” Mwase said.

Playing away, Mwase admitted, Malawi need to be efficient upfront and cautious in defence.

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“To be honest, we gifted Angola those two goals [in the first-leg]. In the build up to the first goal, there was communication breakdown between the defence and the goalkeeper. In the second goal, our defender had time to clear the ball, but he took his time, a striker closed in and made a wrong clearance which gifted Angola the second goal,” the former Flames skipper said.

Following the first-leg loss, the Junior Flames must win by a two-goal margin in Luanda to sneak through to the 2019 finals.

Angola stunned the Junior Flames through goals from Jelson Antonio and Arilson Pereira Jorge before Chikondi Mbeta pulled one back for the hosts.

Despite Mwase’s optimism, Malawi has been struggling to score and only advanced to the second-round on goal aggregate after a 1-1 draw on aggregate against Swaziland.

Malawi are winless in six consecutive games, having last defeated Swaziland 3-2 at the 2017 Cosafa Junior Championship played in Kitwe, Zambia.

In the last six games, Malawi have conceded five goals and scored three.

Malawi last qualified for the finals in this age group in 1999 in Ghana when Mwase was a defender for Jomo Cosmos in South Africa.

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