Under-23 national football team coach Meke Mwase says the two-week camping in Belgium was worth it as his charges and technical staff have learnt a lot on some technical aspects of the game.
The team wound up its camping yesterday and left for Egypt after playing six training games and watching two high-profile matches.
“The camping was worth it as both the players and us—the technical staff—have learnt a lot on aspects such as attitude, techniques and approach.
“The results are enough proof that we were learning after each game. There were things like movement—both on and off the ball—and change of tempo,” he said.
Mwase says the lessons from Belgium as well as the friendly match against Egypt Under-23 slated for this Friday will help them tune up for upcoming joint 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations’ (Afcon) qualifiers against Zambia.
“By the time we face Zambia, we will be ready. So, the importance of the camping cannot be overemphasised.”
Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG), who is also an overseer for all national teams, said the team has had intensive physical and tactical training sessions.
“It was a good learning experience for both the players and coaches and I am sure there will be notable changes in their game approach and techniques,” he said.
Team captain Chimwemwe Idana said the camping had given them food for thought as regards the gap between Malawi and Europe in terms of class, technique and style.
“The approach, attitude, style and physique is all different and there is a lot that we have learnt,” he said.
The Junior Flames lost their two opening matches by 3-1 margins to Belgian top league team Sint Trudense VV (STVV) and second-tier league side Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL) before winning their subsequent matches against second-tier side Genk VV and Dutch team Roda JC Kekrede 3-2 and 1-0, respectively.
Ironically, they drew their last two games against second-tier league sides Patro MM (1-1) and SP Hass (2-2).
Against SP Hass, Malawi were the first to score through Hassan Kajoke from an Isaac Kaliati cross, but the home team equalised just before half-time.
SP Hass then went on to take the lead before Francis Mkonda levelled the scores after being put through by Chikaiko Batson.
The Junior Flames will host Zambia on March 20 before travelling to Lusaka for the return leg slated for March 24.