Malawi under-20 coach Gerald Phiri Snr is expected to change the team’s system in this afternoon’s match against battered hosts and defending champions Zambia at Nkana Stadium in Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championship.
The hosts were stunned 2-0 by Eastern Africa guests Uganda while Malawi edged Swaziland 3-2 on Wednesday.
Assistant coach Peter Mponda said they expect a tough opponent in the match against Zambia as the hosts aim at recovering from the loss to Uganda.
Malawi, though aggressive when attacking, were sloppy at the back where they allowed Swaziland to twice equalise. Uganda, on the other hand, were ruthless as they had no mercy, destroying the defending champions and favourites.
Surprisingly, Malawi had six defending players on the field—Levison Maganizo, Hadji Wali, Precious Sambani, Nickson Nyasulu, Charles Petro and Kondwani Mwaila.
However, since Malawi used a 3-5-2 system, three of the defenders played in the midfield and Mponda hinted at reverting to the 4-4-2 formation.
“We could use four defenders in the next match [against Zambia],” said Mponda, adding that the match is a do-or-die for both sides.
Star midfielder Peter Banda, who scored the opener for Malawi, was used as a striker partnering PremierBet Wizards forward Patrick Phiri, who also scored a brace.
But Mponda also suggested Banda could be used in his traditional position of attacking midfielder in this afternoon’s match.
Meanwhile, Zambia coach Mumamba Numba told Times of Zambia that it is too early for anyone to rule them out, adding that the game against Malawi is a must-win for the hosts.
He also defended his decision to use a majority of Under-17 players in the match against Uganda.
The coach, however, promised to deploy his full squad in today’s match, including overseas playmaker Edward Chilufya, who plays for Swedish top league side Djurgardens, who has replaced injured Niza Simutenda.
If Malawi top group A, they will meet the winner of Group C which has last year’s bronze winners Angola, Namibia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe
Winner of Group B, which has last year’s runners-up South Africa and North Africa guests Egypt, will face the best losers.
Malawi Under-20 have never won the tournament.
They reached the final in 2003 but lost to Zambia. n