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Malawi under-23 ask for vocal support

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By Mphatso Malidadi:

Malawi under-23 national football team Coach, Meke Mwase, believes his charges have the capacity to shrug off fatigue and knock Botswana out of the African Youth Championship, which is doubling as a 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifier.

The two sides meet in a decisive match at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon.

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The Flames reserve side arrived in the wee hours of Monday from Gaborone, Botswana, having staged a dramatic comeback to win 2-1 at Lobatse Sports Complex in Saturday’s first leg match.

Having won the first leg, Malawi under-23 are one step away from reaching the next round.

However, Mwase has refused to get carried away with the result, saying they needed to finish off their opponents in style after coming from behind in Gaborone.

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“We are calling on all the fans to rally behind us. There are times junior national teams win away and struggle at home. This usually happens due to lack of support at home but, this time, I believe all the fans will be behind us,” he said.

Mwase also stated that his players did not train in the morning yesterday as they were supposed to rest after connecting back home through South Africa.

The coach said, in Saturday’s game, Mike Mkwate and Ernest Tambe were substituted for Francis Mkonda and Hassan Kajoke, respectively, because it was too hot and the side needed to inject speed to get goals.

Meanwhile, Mwase has hinted that he might feature the same team that started the game in Botswana.

“We are still assessing how the players have responded to the long journey as well as those that were carrying minor knocks. All things being equal, we might have the same situation as in Gaborone,” he said.

During the first leg, Mwase had Rabson Chiyenda in goals, with Charles Petro, Trevor Kalema, Haji Wali and Mark Fodya manning the defence.

Ernest Tambe, Mike Mkwate, Chimwemwe Idana and Isaac Kaliyati started in midfield, with Chikaiko Batison and Gregory Nachipo playing upfront.

Botswana Coach, Letang Kgengwenyane, is expected to make some changes, having arrived in the country yesterday through Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.

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