Belgian club Sint-Truidense VV coach Marc Brys has identified goalkeeping as the weakest link in the Malawi Under-23 national football team.
Brys, who hailed the team’s striking force as industrious, said this after his side defeated the Junior Flames 3-1 in a training match on Tuesday.
The Under-23 are in Belgium camping for the 2020 Africa Cup of Nations and Olympic Games double qualifiers against Zambia next month.
In a post-match interview, Brys seemed not impressed with the goalkeeping department.
In the first half, Malawi had Rabson Chienda who conceded two goals before he was replaced by Brighton Munthali in the second half.
“The goalkeeper will take some time to bring him to a higher level. The goalkeeping is very necessary to the team because it brings a little bit of nervousness,” he said.
The coach, however, heaped praise on the striking force, but he said it needs an industrious midfield to be effective.
“Malawi is an ambitious team, especially the quick strikers and the guy who was playing behind the strikers [Mike Mkwate] I like him a lot. He is mobile. If he plays more with central infiltration he could help the team,” he said.
Ironically, Under-23 coach Meke Mwase was not pleased with the same striking force Brys praised.
“We played very good football, but the only problem we still have is that we are not scoring goals. I hope that we will sit down with the boys so that we find a formula that can help us get the goals,” he said.
Meanwhile, the overseas training has exposed players to scouts as well as good training facilities.
Former Flames defender Clement Kafwafwa said such training is beneficial as the players get a chance to secure deals with foreign clubs.
He also said a generation of Flames players that has previously been part of such training has achieved some success.
He cited camping which the Flames undertook in Denmark when Kim Splidsboel was the coach between 2000 and 2002.
“Most of the players were part of the team that qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2010. Since most of the players in Belgium now are below the age of 23, the positive impact in a long term will be felt,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) vice-president James Mwenda said the training camp would help to prepare against Zambia.
“We are playing against Zambia and the agenda is to prepare for that game. The five games they will play will help to build coordination, an area which we are lacking because we have a team that has not played together for much longer,” he said.
Malawi played with two different teams in both halves as the technical panel gave all the players game time.