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South Africa legend in Malawi for Fast Footie

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Gomezgani Zakazaka

South Africa National Football Team legend Mark Fish is scheduled to preside over a two-day Fast Footie Under-16 tournament at Bishop Mackenzie International High School in Lilongwe.

The tournament starts Saturday and ends on Sunday.

Fish was due to arrive in the country Thursday for the tournament, which will attract 16 girls’ and boys’ teams.

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Council for Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) has organised the tournament in conjunctions with Football Associations of Malawi (Fam) as one of the legacy events for the Cosafa Under-17 boys and girls championships.

The event will be part of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games to be staged in Lilongwe from December 1 to 11.

Fish told Fam’s website that he was looking forward to seeing great young talent.

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“The aim is to change the game, make it quicker and faster and encourage the kids to shoot and make them aware of how it should be played. The expectation in Malawi is to see good young talent.

“Looking forward to seeing the type of individuals Malawi can produce. It is about scoring goals and making sure the kids have fun. As Cosafa region, we can improve our game and make sure that more teams qualify for Afcon [Africa Cup of Nations] and World Cup tournaments,’’ Fish is quoted as saying.

While in the country, the former Bolton Wanderers defender will work alongside former Malawi National Football Team and Mamelodi Sundowns midfield dynamo Chancy ‘Vinny’ Gondwe.

Fish said he is looking forward to working with Gondwe.

“I am excited to have the opportunity of working with Chancy Gondwe. He is one player that I respect,” he said.

Fam Communications and Competitions Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said all is set for the two-day event.

“Girls will play on Saturday while boys will be in action on Sunday. Fast Footie is a new form of the game that will help budding footballers in the Under-16 age group develop their skills.

“Matches are shorter, about 20 minutes each half. The tournament has some interesting rules like a goal scored from outside the 18-yard box counting as two goals. We look forward to an exciting weekend,” Zakazaka said.

Boys’ teams have been drawn from Lilongwe District Mmera Mpoyamba Under-16 league and academies within the capital.

They include Play Football Malawi, Ascent Soccer Academy, Namasala Soccer Academy, Villa FC, Mpira Mmudzi Mwathu, Ticktack FC, Grassroot Football Academy and Soccer Saints.

The girls section is made up of Central Region Women’s Football League youth teams and Lilongwe academies such as Ascent Soccer Academy, Mpira Mmudzi Mwathu, Chisomo Academy, Hungry Lions, MDF Lionesses, Chilinde, Kamuzu Institute and DD Sunshine.

The teams will compete on a knockout basis starting from quarterfinals, with four winners proceeding to the semi-finals and then the final.

There will be a plate section for the four losing quarterfinalists.

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