Under-23 aim for Togo scalp

Marian Mario Marinica

Malawi Under-23 National Football Team, the junior Flames, will end their tour of Antalya, Turkey, with tricky match against Togo at Mardan Stadium this afternoon.

Having beaten Kuwait 2-0 in their opening match on Thursday, the junior Flames are in high spirits.

Probably, the Flames will be hoping to get another win within four days to finish the tour on a high.


However, Malawi should expect a totally different match against fellow African opponents Togo, who registered a 1-0 victory over Tajikistan in their opening match.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Technical Director Marian Mario Marinica, who is in charge of the team, will be eyeing a second win in Turkey.

“We expect a tough match because Togo are also a good side. The match is very important for us. We are work in progress,” the Romanian said.


Marinica has travelled with a strong squad comprising captain Charles Petro, who plays for Moldovan side Tiraspol Sheriff, Zambia-based striker Chifundo Mphasi, Hadji Wali, Patrick Mwaungulu, Mphatso Kamanga and Christopher Gototo.

But Georgia-based winger Francisco Madinga, who was included in the squad, failed to travel to Turkey due to visa complications.

In today’s match, Marinica will likely make some changes to the starting line-up that defeated Kuwait on Thursday.

Against Kuwait, Marinica trusted goalkeeper Chancy Mtete whereas Innocent Shema, Wali, Blessings Mpokera and Tatenda M’ balaka started at the back.

Fanizo Mwansambo, Yamikani Chaima and Chawanangwa Gumbo played in midfield, with Gototo and Kamanga upfront.

National Football Coaches Association (NFCA) General Secretary Davie Mpima said the trip to Turkey had helped expose the players.

“This is the way to go. There are more positives from the trip to Turkey. I am sure the players and the technical panel have learnt a lot,” Mpima said.

Malawi took U-23 side to Turkey instead of the senior team to give the youngsters exposure as part of preparations for Caf Nations of African Championship (Chan) qualifiers and the 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.

The qualifiers for Chan are expected to be played in June with the Olympic qualifiers later this year.

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