Malawi return to COSAFA Beach Soccer Championships

Malawi will make a return after a nine-year absence when they take part in the COSAFA Beach Soccer Championships that are to be held in Durban from March 17-23.

Malawi played in the inaugural event in the Seychelles in 2015, where they lost in the final to Madagascar, going down 9-4 in the decider.

The team did not compete in 2021 and 2022, but will be back for this latest edition with high hopes of going for gold under coach Willy Kumilambe.

He has named a provisional squad of 25 players following the finish of the beach soccer zonal leagues in the country, which provided fertile grounds for scouting.

Kumilambe has included 10 players in his provisional squad from those that competed at the 2022 Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations in Mozambique – goalkeepers Justin Bonongwe and Eddie Jamu, defenders Arnold Lasten, Martin Biliati and Blessings Likupe, midfielders Dala Simba, Isaac Kajamu and Frank Mwenelupembe, and strikers Obrien Nkhukumba and Sandram Saddi.

Malawi qualified for that competition by defeating Tanzania on the away goals rule following an 8-8 aggregate draw in their qualifier.

They lost both pool games at the championship but gave a good account of themselves as they went down 4-2 to hosts Mozambique and 7-3 to Morocco. Both those sides will be in Durban and provide Malawi with the chance for some revenge.

They finished third in their group, which set up a meeting with Uganda for fifth place and after a thrilling 6-6 draw, in which Malawi at one stage led 5-1, the latter won 4-1 on penalties.

The experienced Kumilambe was also in charge for that tournament and will bring the lessons learnt from the competition into their challenge in Durban.

He will hope to mastermind a return to the continental stage at the next finals that are set for Egypt later this year, and perhaps qualify the side for the 2025 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup that will be held in Seychelles.

APP       MP          W             L               GF           GA
1               3               0               3               11            17

2022 – Sixth

Justin Bonongwe (Beach Eagles), Eddie Jamu, Ishmael Saidi (Tourism), Hadji Mussa (Nyasa)

Defenders: Arnold Lasten, Blessings Likupe (Munali), Jowa Sipolo (Tourism), Martin Biliati (Nyasa), Jowl Mwamyongo (Mphanga), Alex Nsukunika (Vinthenga), Willard Maunde (MDF)

Midfielders: Dala Simba (Vinthenga), Isaac Kajamu (Sunbird Nkopola), Frank Mwenelupembe (Deep Bay), Thoko Kamanga (Beach Eagle), Chikondi Banda (Chihame), Tito Chakwawa (Chipale), Vincent Mwanyongo (Mphanga)

Strikers: Obrien Nkhukumba (Beach Eagle), Dandram Saddie (Sunbird Nkopola), Isaac Kondowe (MDF), Jairos Mussa (Nyasa), Yusuf Issah (FC Malawi), Isaac Kinna (Chihame), Chikumbutso Phiri (Mphanga)

On standby: Mike Chabvula (Rank), Yankho Biliati (Tourism), Kumbukani Phiri (Vinthenga), Nathan Longwe (Beach Eagle), Watson Simbeye (Noil) and Allan Mtawale (Chimanga)