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Good start

Under-23 beat Kuwait

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Malawi Under-23 National Football Team, the junior Flames, got off to a flying start after beating Kuwait 2-0 in the Antalya Tour at Kremlin Centre in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday.

It was Malawi’s first match of the tour in Turkey. In a match monitored on live streaming, the two teams failed to unlock each other in the first half.

After a barren first half, defender Innocent Shema broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute when he connected a Patrick Mwaungulu well taken free-kick from the right side of the pitch.

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Substitute Chikondi Mphasi ensured the victory for the junior Flames in the 93rd minute after an assist from another substitute Alick Lungu.

Despite the win, Malawi struggled to keep possession and played kick and rush football the entire match.

However, the junior Flames were brave as they were compact at the back comprising defenders Hadji Wali, Shema, Blessings Mpokera and Tatenda M’balaka.

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Technical Director Marian Mario Marinica, who is in charge of the team during the tour, trusted Ekwendeni Hammers goalkeeper Chancy Mtete. Captain Charles Petro played as a defending midfielder whereas Chawanangwa Gumbo and Yamikani Chaima featured in midfield.

Upfront, Marinica started with Karonga United striker Mphatso Kamanga and Sable Farming striker Christopher Gototo.

In the second half, the Romanian made some changes when he brought new players namely Kelvin Banda, Lungu, Loyd Aaron and Emmanuel Savieli for Fanizo Mwansambo, M’balaka, Kamanga and Gumbo.

Malawi will play Togo in the last match of the tour on Monday. However, U-20 players will play Jordan in a freindly on Sunday .

Some of the U-20 players in the squad are Masambiro Kalua, Festus Duwe and Lovemore Mbeta. Efforts to talk to Marinica proved futile as we went to press Thursday.

National Football Coaches Association (NFCA) Chairperson Aubrey Nankhuni said the players were chosen on merit.

“Let us not focus much on results but exposure of the players. I believe, at the end of this tour, some of the players will be picked by foreign teams,” he said.

The matches are part of preparations for African Nations Championship (Chan), Olympic Games qualifiers and this year’s Cosafa Cup.

In addition, some players will be part of the senior team for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers. Malawi will join the qualifiers in group stages in June.

Malawi lineup: Chancy Mtete, Innocent Shema, Hadji Wali, Charles Petro, Fanizo Mwansambo, Blessings Mpokera, Tatenda M’ Balaka, Yamikani Chaima, Chawanangwa Gumbo, Mphatso Kamanga, Christopher Gototo

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