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Under-17 kick-start Cosafa show

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Ill-prepared Malawi under-17 national football team begin their Cosafa Youth Championship mission when lining up against Botswana at Stade St Francois Xavier in picturesque Port Louis City, Mauritius, today.

Seeking to better their last year’s bronze medal finish, Malawi begin the race as slight favourites.

However, at the youth level, predictions do not always work.

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Unlike last year, when preparations were relatively better, Coach Deklerk Msakakuona, has his work cut out to make the most of his hastily assembled side.

Most players Msakakuona drilled failed age tests, forcing the former Blue Eagles mentor to draft in some new players at the 11th hour.

Nonetheless, the few experienced players from last year’s squad, including Captain Hadji Wali, should lead the Junior Flames against an equally talented Botswana side.

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Malawi is in group B comprising Zimbabwe and Mauritius, opponents they meet on Monday and Wednesday. The race started yesterday, minus holders Namibia who opted out of the competition. Group B comprises Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Amagluglu of South Africa played Mozambique Friday in the opener.

Top two teams from each pool will qualify for the semi-final with the final scheduled for July 30.

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