Malawi under-17 national football team’s preparations for the 2019 Cosafa Youth Championship have been dealt a blow as only 16 out of the 28 players that went for an age test Thursday passed.
This means 12 have been declared overaged, and Coach DeKlerk Msakakuona must hunt for replacements.
Cosafa rules and regulations require each nation taking part in the regional tournament to register 20 players.
Football Association of Malawi Competitions and Communications Director, Gomezgani Zakazaka, said the technical team would recall four players who were dropped from the initial squad.
Zakazaka acknowledged that the test was taken late with just nine days to kick off of the competition.
“As per rules and regulations of the competition, the players had to under-go the test to determine their age. This happens every year during such competitions. We had 16 players that went for the test on Wednesday and the others did it on Thursday.
“The group that went for the test on Wednesday had seven players whose ages were adjudged to be above 17. But all players who went on Thursday failed the test,” Zakazaka said.
He said Fam failed to conduct the test in time because of financial constraints.
“We were supposed to do this before the players went into camp, but this exercise is not cheap, it is very expensive. We pay K250, 000 per player and we were working on 30 players. So if you do mathematics, we are talking of close to K8 million,” Zakazaka said.
Meanwhile, Flames U-17 team manager Enos Chatama has described the development as a setback.
Malawi hosts Cosafa from 10 to 20 October in Blantyre.