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South African clubs court Under-20 players

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Malawi Under-20 National Football Team might have endured a disastrous outing at the recent Cosafa Youth Championship in South Africa, but the tournament provided players a platform to showcase their talent to potential suitors.

Following the Junior Flames’ appearance in the regional youth football showpiece, South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs have inquired about two players, Team Manager Griffin Saenda Junior, confirmed on Wednesday.

Defender Nickson Nyasulu and striker Abel Mwakilama have been earmarked for trials at PSL sides, Chippa United and Baroka United, next month, Saenda said.

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“I have been asked to set the ball rolling by processing the players’ yellow fever books and police reports then the clubs will send official invitation letters for the players. Subject to a nod from Football Association of Malawi [Fam], the players will undergo trials with both teams,” he said.

Nyasulu and Mwakilama, who were outstanding during the Cosafa tournament despite that the Junior Flames failed to score in three games, play for Griffin Saenda Stars of Blantyre and Chitipa United, respectively.

Stars and Chitipa campaign in the FMB Under-20 League and Simama Premier Division, respectively.

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Saenda added that during the tournament in South Africa, injured attacker, Peter Banda, missed out on a potential transfer to another PSL side, Golden Arrows.

“They sent their scout who had a video of the exploits of Peter at the Cosafa Under-17 Championship. However, the coach wanted to have a second look at him during the Under-20 competition. Furthermore, we are still waiting for Orlando Pirates, who also showed interest in the player. I understand they are now in Turkey for pre-season training,” Saenda said.

Ch i t ipa Coach Rober t Mzinza yesterday confirmed the growing interest in Mwakilama, who has bagged 37 goals in 36 appearances for the Simama Premier Division pace-setters.

“A South African team contacted us through their representative, who is based in Malawi. The other team called us from South Africa. Unless we receive an official invitation for the player, I will not reveal the identities of the clubs,” Mzinza insisted yesterday.

Fam Transfer Matching Sys tem Manager, Casper Jangale, who is responsible for international football transfers, yesterday said the Junior Flames’ players can attend trials in foreign land without hassles.

“Being for the Under-20 team, it means that these players might be aged 18 or 19, so it is okay. Fifa regulations only restrict transfers involving minors,” Jangale said yesterday.

Signing for the PSL clubs might be the mere beginning of struggles to break into their main playing squads. Of late, most Malawian players have found it difficult to see regular action in the PSL, whose standards are believed to be on the rise.

The number of Malawian footballers in the PSL has declined to just five—Robert Ng’ambi (Platinum Stars), Esau Kanyenda (Polokwane City), Limbikani Mzava (Arrows), Atusaye Nyondo (Bloemfontein Celtic) and Gabadinho Mhango (BidVest Wits).

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