Flames Under-20 coach, Gerard Phiri, says the injury of his attacking midfielder Peter Banda contributed significantly to the team’s failure to perform well at the Cosafa Youth Championship in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Phiri made the remarks upon arrival from South Africa at the Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
The Junior Flames failed to qualify for the semi finals following their two defeats and one draw.
He said the absence of Banda affected his game plan but he was quick to say that he is impressed with the way his boys played in the tournament.
The Griffin Young Stars play-maker picked an injury before travelling to South Africa and, according to Phiri, he was advised that after three days Banda would be fit but he ended up not kicking a ball after twisting his ankle during the last training session when the team was preparing the Zimbabwe game that ended in a goalless draw.
“I know Malawians are very disappointed with the results but we have to look at several angles especially in developing the talents. I am so sure these boys will be essential in future. Let’s not put much [focus] on getting results now but Identifying the players that will help the senior team.
“Come to the injury of Peter Banda, yes, it affected us a lot because he was starting the game against Zimbabwe. The doctors given us a go ahead to travel with him but unfortunately he twisted his ankle so we couldn’t do anything but all in all I am not worried and we have a good squad for the future national team,” Phiri said.
The Junior Flames failed to score even a single goal in three matches.
Former Blantyre United Coach, Mario Gadaga, who also welcomed the junior Flames said the team needed more time for preparation as FMB league players dominated the squad.
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