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Junior Flames coaches for quarterly camping

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Alfred Gunda

Malawi Under-20 National Football Team Coach Patrick Mabedi and his Under-17 counterpart Deklerk Msakakuona have proposed quarterly camping for their respective sides.

In addition, the coaches have also proposed mini tournaments involving regional select teams as part of talent-identification exercise.

All things being equal, both U-20 and 17 are expected to take part in this year’s Cosafa Youth Championship later this year.

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But due to suspension of football at all levels, it would be difficult for the junior Flames coaches to identify players in this age bracket.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed that both coaches had submitted plans.

“We have detailed plans from the coaches and we are hopeful that some of the proposals will be implemented. But we have to be mindful that football is suspended but we are optimistic that one day things will open up,” he said.

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According to the Cosafa calendar, the men’s Under-17 championship is likely to be played as part of Regional 5 Games in Lesotho in December whereas the Under-20 tournament will be held in December in South Africa.

In an interview recently, Mabedi confirmed that he had already submitted plans to Fam.

“I already submitted my planning programme of the way we should do new things last year in December to our technical director and Fam office,” the former Flames and Kaiser Chiefs defence pillar said in a written response.

However, Msakakuona was not available Tuesday for comment.

Both U-20 and 17 endured a miserable campaign in last year’s tournaments held in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Malawi U-20 beat Comoros Islands 1-0 but lost 2-1 to Namibia before going down to Zambia 2-0 in the last match of the group stage.

U-17 finished bottom in a four nation-team tournament. The competition was played on a round robin format after four teams, namely Zimbabwe, Comoros, eSwatini and Botswana, were disqualified for featuring overaged players.

During the tournament, the junior Flames drew 2-2 with South Africa in the opening match but suffered humiliating defeats to Angola (6-2) and Zambia (7-1) before losing 2-1 to Angola in the third place play-off.

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