Malawi under-20 national football team will face Zambia in a friendly match slated for Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
The team regrouped yesterday at Lingadzi Inn in the Capital City ahead of the friendly which will be an opportunity for the junior Flames to fine-tune for their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Angola next month.
Zambia will also use the match to prepare for Rwanda in the same competition.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam), General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, confirmed yesterday that their Zambian counterparts approached them for the friendly match.
“We got communication from our Zambian counterparts asking for a strength-testing match which we accepted considering that we are preparing for Angola. We believe that the match will help the team to prepare well for Angola because Zambia is a good team,” Gunda said.
This is the first international friendly match for the junior Flames in preparation for the 2019 Niger Afcon under-20 qualifiers having played against Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) in the preliminary round without a recognisable friendly match.
Malawi advanced to the second round on the away goals rule after a 1-1 draw against Eswatini in Lobamba two weeks ago.
In a separate interview, Junior Flames Team Manager Aubrey Nankhuni said the match would be a perfect opportunity for them to rectify some of their problems before facing Angola.
“We are happy that Fam has arranged the friendly which will give us a chance to assess the players. We have a very good team which just needs to be exposed by playing more friendly games. So this match is very important for us,” Nankhuni said.
The Junior Flames will be without star striker Peter Banda who is in Brazil with Orlando Pirates as part of his trials.
But Banda could be available against Angola as he is expected to return home just a day before the match on the weekend of May 11 and 12 in Lilongwe.
Malawi and Zambia last met at the under-20 Cosafa Cup which ended in a goal-less draw in Kitwe last year.
The Junior Flames last qualified for the Afcon under-20 in 1999 but they came closest to qualifying again in 2013 when they exited the competition after losing to Zambia in the final round of qualifying.
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