The Junior Flames are upbeat of making it to the semi-final at the Council for Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) Under 20 Championship this afternoon as they face Uganda at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe, Zambia.
The Malawi Under-20 team needs nothing short of a win to progress to the last-four stage as group A winners. They are, currently, second to leaders Uganda in the four-team group. The two sides are tied on four points but Uganda are better on goal difference of two against Malawi’s one. Swaziland are third with a point, the same as anchors Zambia.
Junior Flames’ assistant coach Peter Mponda yesterday said they do not see Uganda, who stunned defending champions and hosts Zambia with a 2-0 victory in their opener, denying them an opportunity of grabbing the semi-final slot.
“We know they are fond of playing long balls. Therefore, we are geared to thwart their style of play by being the first on the ball. We will also rely much on counter-attacks,” he said.
According to Mponda, they will maintain the 4-4-2 formation and the first line-up that featured against Zambia in their second group match that ended in a goalless draw last Friday.
“We are happy that we do not have injuries save for a knock defender Hadji Wali suffered. He will be fit for the game on Monday. We will maintain both the first line-up and the system of play,” he said.
Uganda’s Hippos coach Martin Lule, whose arsenal includes the tournament’s current leading scorer Muhammad Shaban (three goals in two games), was quoted by www.futaa.com as saying they will try their best to avoid complacency and step up their performance to win the remaining fixtures.