Malawi coach Ronny Van Geneugden has named an extended training squad ahead of the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships as he looks for the best young talent in the country to represent the nation in Zambia from Dec. 6-16.
A total of 28 players have been called into the camp, which starts on Monday in Mpira Village in Chiwembe, including USA-based Aziel Johnson.
Malawi have been drawn in Group A at this year’s regional showpiece competition along with hosts Zambia, Swaziland and East African guest nation Uganda.
They will play the opening game of the competition against the Swazis on December 6 at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe. Malawi finished a credible fourth in the COSAFA Under-20 Championships tournament in Botswana in 2011 having not played in the previous two installments of the competition, and then did not appear again in 2013.
They returned in 2016, but could not make it past the first round as a draw and a loss meant they finished second in their three-team pool.
Malawi have yet to win the regional showpiece competition, but did reach the final in 2003 when they lost out to Zambia in the decider.
The side last made it out of their group six years ago, but lost 4-2 to Angola in the semifinals and were then beaten 1-0 by hosts Botswana in the third-place play-off.
Malawi training squad:
Goalkeepers: Charles Thom (Dwangwa United FC), Christopher Mikuwa (Blantyre United FC), Hastings Banda (Fish Eagles FC), Patrick Njolomole (Silver Strikers FC)
Defenders: Nixon Nyasulu (NMC Big Bullets Reserve FC), Kondwani Mwaila (Silver Strikers FC), Ben Manyozo (Dwangwa United FC), Haji Wali (Silver Strikers FC), Timothy Silwimba (Mzuni FC), Precious Sambani (Be Forward Wanderers FC), Kelvin Kadzinje (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Sydney Chambulika (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Charles Petro (Premier Bet Wizards FC)
Midfielders and Strikers: Gregory Machipo (Blue Eagles FC), Chimwemwe Idana (NMC Big Bullets Reserve FC), Mike Mkwate (NMC Big Bullets FC), Frank Mulimanjara (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Misheck Botomani (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Patrick Phiri (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Peter Banda (Griffin Young Stars FC), Francisco Madinga (Be Forward Wanderers), Levison Maganizo (Silver Strikers FC), Abel Mwakilama (Chitipa United FC), Ronald Pangani (Silver Strikers FC), Maxwell Daud (Griffin Young Stars FC), Aziel Johnson (St Benedicts, USA), Ernest Petro (NMC Big Bullets), Clement Bindula (Masters Security Services Reserve)