Malawi name young squad for COSAFA Under-17 Championship

Malawi coach Deklerk Msakakuona has named his selection for the 2017 COSAFA under-17 Championships to be staged in Mauritius from Friday.

The group consists mostly of boys born in 2002, with six of them still 14 years of age as Msakakuona looks forward to the next round of African Under-17 Championship qualifiers that start next month.

“The training camp went well and we are looking forward to the tournament. We have young and talented players who are hungry for success,” Msakakuona said.

“When a farmer plants cotton for sure he wants to harvest cotton and not maize. We want to go there and do well. It is my wish as a coach, the wish of the boys and the wish of the nation to win this cup.”

Only three players in the squad, captain Haji Walli, Innocent Nhlema and Chikondi Mbeta, competed in the competition last year.

Malawi, who won the bronze medal in Mauritius in 2016, have been drawn in Group A at this year’s tournament, along with hosts Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

They open their campaign against Botswana at Stade Saint Francois Xavier in Port Louis on July 22. Matches will also be played at the Mauritius Football Association Technical Centre.

The opening game will be staged on July 21 as South Africa host Mozambique. The final will be played nine days later, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semifinals.

A regional Under-17 championship has been played in various guises since the first in 1994 that was won by South Africa on home soil with a 2-1 victory over Mozambique in the final.

Malawi claimed the title in 2001 as they beat hosts South Africa 3-0, before a year later the latter regained the trophy after finishing top of a mini-group of teams.

It was not until last year that the tournament was staged again.


Malawi squad

Goalkeepers: Kennedy Nankhaima, Wongani Sabiti, Bornwell Matemba

Defenders: Luciano Matewere, Daniel Sandukira, Josephy Balakasi, Hadji Wali, Vitumbiko Nyirenda, Hamidu Balala

Midfielders: Innocent Shema, Tathedwa Willard, David Daudi, Newton Nsoma, Franklin Titani, Auspicious Kadzongola, Patrick Mwaungulu

Forwards: Alex Tsamba, Chikondi Mbeta, Chinsinsi Maonga, Prince Chingancheke