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Flames, under-23 to train separately

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By Ronald Mpaso:

After a week of training together at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in preparation for their respective matches, the senior Malawi national football team and the under-23 side are set to part ways as they reconvene tomorrow at Football Association of Malawi’s (Fam) Chiwembe Technical Centre.

The two teams will both be in action next Saturday with the senior Flames playing meeting Comoros Islands in Moroni as they attempt to post an away win in a Group B 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, while the under-23 side will lock horns with Botswana in a 2020 Olympic Games Africa Zone qualifier in Gaborone.

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Fam Technical Director John Kaputa said the change has been made because the two teams will be playing under different conditions.

Kaputa said the Comoros Islands match will be played on artificial turf whereas the Botswana encounter will be hosted on a natural grass pitch.

“So we want the two teams to experience the conditions under which they will play their games. The senior team will continue training at Kamuzu Stadium which has an artificial pitch while the under-23 could move to Chilomoni Stadium once we confirm that the natural surface there is fit for training,” he said.

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Kaputa said the two teams have benefitted a lot from training on the same pitch as they played test matches against each other.

He said the two squads drew 1-1 and 0-0 in the first and second matches, respectively, before the senior side beat the under-23s 2-0 in the third match which was played on Thursday at Kamuzu Stadium.

“Competition was very stiff. Every player was fighting for a place in their team. Both new and old players wanted to prove a point to the coaches [Ronny van Geneugden and Meke Mwase],” Kaputa, who is also a Confederation of African Football coaches instructor, said.

He said after watching the three games, he sat down with the coaching panels of the two teams to analyse the players’ performance and recommend better tactics to help in getting results.

The two teams will reconvene tomorrow after breaking for both TNM Super League and Fisd Challenge Cup games and are expected to leave for their respective destinations on Wednesday.

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