Malawi Under-20 national football team future in the ongoing Cosafa Youth Championship will be known this afternoon when dating Zambia in a must win match at Nkoloma Stadium.
The Junior Flames need nothing short of a victory against hosts Zambia for them to book a semifinal place. Any result apart from a win would be disaster for the Junior Flames.
But that would not come on a silver platter as Zambia are enjoying good form after a perfect start to the competition.
The hosts lead Group A with six points after two victories followed by Malawi on four points from two games.
Zambia beat Botswana 5-0 in the opening match of the competition before a 2-0 victory over Comoros Islands on Saturday to increase their chances of qualifying for the semifinals whereas Malawi registered a 4 – 0 win over Comoros but dropped points after being held to a 2-2 draw by the Young Zebras.
The Junior Flames and Zambia also met during the 2018 edition but Malawi lost 2-0 in the opening match.
Surely, the Junior Flames might be looking for revenge against the hosts.
Malawi Under-20 coach Peter Mponda wants his boys to vent anger on the hosts after a 2-2 draw against Botswana on Saturday.
“If we want to win the tournament we must beat Zambia so that we qualify for the semifinals. We must show great character against them. We have hope that we will beat Zambia and qualify,” Mponda said after the Botswana match.
But Mponda must ensure his boys are brave and avoid errors against a determined Zambia.
Mponda is likely to ring changes to the side which drew against Botswana. But Patrick Mwaungulu and Wisdom Mpinganjira could keep their places upfront having impressed in the two games.
Midfielder Chikondi Kamanga is expected to pass late fitness test after a knock. At the back, Hadji Wali, Innocent Shema and Believe June will also be retained to provide cover to Emmanuel Kanthiti whose blunder cost the Flames the match.
But the Junior Flames must exercise caution as the hosts have talent in abundance.
Francisco Mwepu and John Chishimba are some of Zambia’s dangerous players.
The Junior Flames will be looking for the Cosafa Cup semifinals appearance since 2011 but lost 4-2 to Angola.
Malawi reached the Cosafa Cup final in 2003 but lost to Zambia.