Malawi under-20 national football team’s preparations for the 2019 Cosafa Championship have suffered a setback as first-choice goalkeeper, Hastings Banda, has joined the group undergoing military training with the Malawi Defence Force (MDF).
Banda, who has been deputising Charles Thom at the junior Flames in previous tournaments, is now first-choice after the Silver Strikers substitute goalkeeper’s promotion to the under-23 side.
The Civil Sporting Club custodian left the under-20 camp last week to join the MDF recruits.
Junior Flames Team Manager, Aubrey Nankhuni, was reluctant to come out clear on the matter.
“Fam [Football Association of Malawi] will take care of this matter. Whether we will have the player or nor for the tournament is not in our hands,” Nankhuni said.
He admitted that Banda’s absence would affect their plans as he had gained enough experienced for the regional showpiece.
“Of course, we have other goalkeepers such Eliasi Missi, Anthony Singini and Emmanuel Kanthiti but Hastings has been on the Cosafa stage before and knows what to expect,” Nankhuni said.
He expressed hope that procedures would be followed to allow the player to rejoin the squad.
“There are procedures that are followed in such cases and it is up to Fam to approach MDF. We can only hope that MDF would appreciate that the player is wanted for a national cause,” Nankhuni said.
Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, said he would meet the Junior Flames’ technical team to appreciate what had happened.
“I am not aware of the development. Let me hear from the coaches and see what to do. I cannot say much until I talk to the concerned parties,” Gunda said.
Banda has joined fellow goalkeeper Nenani Juwaya of Be Forward Wanderers who bade farewell to the Nomads’ faithful last week.
Malawi open the Cosafa campaign with a date against Comoros on December 4 in Lusaka Zambia.