BY MABVUTO KAMBUWE:
Malawi under-20 national football team flew out to South Africa Thursday ahead of its first-leg match of the final qualifying round of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals against the hosts on Sunday.
South Africa’s Amajita will host the junior Flames at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg, followed by the return leg on July 21 in Lilongwe.
Speaking before departure Thursday, Team Manager, Aubrey Nankhuni, promised that the team would qualify for the finals in Niger.
“We know how South Africa play. It is possible for us to beat them. The players are working hard in training and this gives us hope that we will make it to the finals,” he said.
On Wednesday, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila, visited the team’s training base at Nankhaka Ground in Lilongwe where he promised them an unspecified gift if they progress to the finals.
“Our target is to qualify and if we qualify, we will do something special for them. We should not start celebrating now because we are not yet there. The government will support the team with available resources,” said Kasaila who was accompanied by Fam Vice President, James Mwenda, and Executive Committee Member, Rashid Ntelera.
Mwenda hailed the minister for visiting the team, saying it would motive them to beat South Africa.
The junior Flames have travelled with a strong squad comprising players such as Peter Banda, Andrew Malisero, Hadji Wali, Charles Thom, Chinsinsi Maonga, Francisco Madinga, Chikondi Mbeta, Charles Petro and Frank Chizuze .
Fam Executive Committee Member, Jabbar Alide, is the team’s leader of delegation.
The junior Flames qualified for the final qualifying round after knocking out Swaziland (now Eswatini) and Angola.