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Malawi under -17 step up Cosafa preparations

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Malawi under-17 national football team hopes to better last year’s record at the 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup Youth Championship in Mauritius scheduled to kick off on July 21.

The Junior Flames were drawn in a tricky Group A alongside hosts Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Botswana at the tournament, which winds up on July 30.

Malawi is in camp, preparing for the tournament under the tutelage of Coach Deklerk Msakakuona.

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Team Manager, Enos Chatama, on Thursday said preparations were progressing well ahead of the competition.

“The players are doing well in camp. We have selected good players and we are confident that we will perform well again this year. Let us not put too much pressure on the boys because of last year’s performance,” Chatama said.

The Junior Flames have assembled a completely new squad with most of last year’s stars ineligible for the tournament.

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Last year, the team qualified for the semi-finals of the regional competition.

However, it was not clear if Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has set targets for the junior Flames this year.

The association’s vice President, James Mwenda, who also heads the technical sub committee, was not available for comment on Thursday.

Recently, Mwenda described the draw as tricky, adding: “All we need is to put in place strong mechanisms to ensure that the team continues performing well and brings home the results following last year’s showing.”

Malawi claimed bronze at the youth championship last year when the team beat guests, Kenya, 2-0 in a third-place play-off.

The junior Flames notably Peter Banda, shone during that tournament when he finished as the top scorer with five goals, one ahead of Namibia’s Abram Tjahikia.

Holders Namibia pulled out of this year’s tournament. Group B comprises Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar and Mozambique.

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