Malawi Under-20 national football team has been drawn against Swaziland in the first round of the 2019 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The Junior Flames will host Swaziland in the first leg during the weekend of April 21-22 while the return leg is slated for April 31-May 1.
The winners will face Angola in the second round with the first leg scheduled for May 12-13 while the reverse fixture will be played in Angola during the weekend of May 19-20.
Reacting to the draw, Malawi Under-20 assistant coach Peter Mponda described it as fair.
“In all fairness, we could not have asked for anything better. What is needed is to continue from where we stopped in our preparations.
“We already have a team in place which took part in the Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championship in Zambia where it showed a lot of promise.
“All we need to do now is work on the shortfalls that were noted,” he said.
At the Cosafa tournament, Malawi failed to go past the group stages due to an inferior goal difference after tying on points with guest participants Uganda.
They beat Swaziland 3-2 and drew the other games against Zambia (0-0) and Uganda (2-2).
Malawi last participated in the continental showpiece in 2013 when they came within sniffing distance of qualification and were booted out by Zambia at the last hurdle.
The team was then coached by Ernest Mtawali and his deputy was Gerald Phiri who is now the head coach.
The last time Malawi qualified for the finals of the tournament was in 1999. n