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End of the road

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Malawi Under-20 National Football Team are technically out of the 2016 Cosafa Youth Championship following Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Zambia.

Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Organising Committee member, James Mwenda, yesterday said the next match against Group D’s best team most likely Mozambique Tuesday will have no bearing on the Junior Flames’ progression.

“If Malawi win against Mozambique, we will take our three points back to the group to make it four points. So technically, we are out as Zambia have six points and are technically through to the semifinals,” said Mwenda who is also Football Association of Malawi first vice- president.

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Because of the complicated format, Junior Flames’ Coach Gerald Phiri Snr, after the loss to Zambia, still hoped to sneak through to the quarterfinals.

Phiri was hoping that a win against Mozambique, who as of yesterday led Group D, would offer his charges an opportunity to qualify to the next stage.

The format indicates that Group B’s overall top team will take on Group D second best team whereas Group B’s second best side (in this case Malawi) will take on Group D number one.

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However, Mwenda said the last fixture was merely meant to ensure that all teams in three-member groups B and D should also play four games each just like their counterparts in the other four-member groups A and C.

“This is why it has been a little bit confusing,” Mwenda added.

Cosafa General Secretary, Sue Destombes, yesterday released a statement clarifying the qualification route for the three-member groups.

“The point gained from playing these cross-over matches will be added to the points accumulated within the group,” Destombes said.

“The total number of points and goals are then considered to establish the team finishing in top position of Group B and D that will then advance to the semifinal round.”

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