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Under -17 players battle for selection

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By Williams Gondwa:

Fam Technical Director – John Kaputa

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has started preparations for the country’s hosting of the Cosafa Under-17 tournament in September this year with a two-day tournament in Blantyre.

The competition, which will have select teams from Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern regions, kicks off Saturday and ends on Sunday at Mpira Village in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre.

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Fam Technical Director, John Kaputa, said 40 players will be picked from the weekend even with 30 expected to make the final squad.

Kaputa said a technical study panel has been set up to help in the selection exercise.

“The panel will work hand-in-hand with under-17 national team coaches in identifying the best players to represent Malawi. We formed the independent technical team so that players are picked on merit. The selection process started a fortnight ago in the North, Centre, South and East. Players came out from their respective districts to attend trials.

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“Several coaches were assigned to analyse performance levels of every player. This helped them to come up with 30 players for their regional team. We are now in phase two where the regional coaches will come to Chiwembe with 20 players for this tournament. It means there will be a pool of 80 players competing for places,” he said.

Kaputa said each team would play three games during the showpiece.

“Players will be selected basing on performance. Head Coach DeKlerk Msakakuona will be making his own selection and the technical study group will also come up with its own list. In the end, there will be a comparison which will see the best players making the final squad,” Kaputa said.

The country’s under-17 team has produced several players who are now playing for top TNM Super League teams, such as Hadj Wali, Peter Banda and Francisco Madinga.

The developmental competition kicks off on September 26 to October 5.

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