A make-shift Malawi Under-18 Men’s Handball squad won a bronze medal at the just ended Zone VI tournament in Zimbabwe.
Malawi was represented by two teams, including an under-20 squad at the eight-nation tournament but it was the under-18 side that impressed.
The team returned home on Monday after winning two games. They whipped Lesotho 51-13 and deservedly defeated eSwatini 42-12.
However, the squad suffered two defeats at the event when they went down to hosts Zimbabwe 51-22 and Zambia 43-19.
And, the under-20 squad endured a bad outing after losing all four matches.
The side lost to South Africa 36-22, Zambia 44- 26, eSwatini 42-21 and Zimbabwe 69-9.
However, Malawi Handball Association (Maha) Treasurer Sophie Kathewera said winning a bronze with a make-shift squad underlines the quality of their association’s developmental structures.
“We had to improvise the squad after almost half of the earmarked players failed to process their passports on time. However, the other players that came in did not disappoint,” she said.
Kathewera said they poached 11 players from Central High School International to complete a 25-member squad.
“We thank Central High School for also coming in to support us. The school donated some handballs and we also used their training grounds for free,” she said.
Kathewera said they had to participate at the event with a make-shift squad to avoid a five year ban.
She also hailed International Handball Federation (IHF) for meeting Malawi’s food, transportation and accommodation costs whereas the Malawi National Council of Sports contributed K3 million towards residential camping and external allowances.
The teams’ technical director Ken Mphande said they could have done better if the team had trained together for some time.
“The other players were not bad. We struggled as a team because we lacked coordination. If the players had gelled we could have done better,” he said.