Coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) has shelved plans to have some Flames players in the Under-23 national team that faces Botswana in U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on the same day the senior team plays Comoros away in a 2019 Afcon qualifier.
Though Afcon is restricted to Under-23 players, born on or after January 1 1997, teams are allowed a maximum of three overage players.
RVG, who is the overseer of all national teams according to his contract with Football Association of Malawi (FAM), initially wanted up-and-coming players that have made their names in the senior team such as Precious Sambani, Levison Maganizo and Patrick Phiri in the Under-23.
But caught between a rock and a hard place, the coach has opted to prioritise the senior team assignment as he hopes to qualify for the Cameroon final in 2019.
The Belgian tactician said they would consider the senior players for the return leg.
“Up-and-coming players such as Precious Sambani, Levison Maganizo and Patrick Phiri have been impressive in the national team. They have proved they are an asset for the Flames.
“They will be with the senior national team in Comoros where we want to get a positive result. But they can be considered for the Under-23 in the return leg at home,” he said.
The coach also said his assistant, Peter Mponda, who is also assistant to Under-23 coach Meke Mwase, will only be with the juniors during the preparation as he will travel with the senior team to Comoros.
“The Under-23 coach [Mwase] has two assistants, the other one is [Bob] Mpinganjira,” he said.
Meanwhile, the squad for the team will be released next week, according to FAM technical subcommittee chairperson James Mwenda.
“The coaching panel has been asked to come up with a squad which will go into camp soon,’ he said.
Egypt qualified automatically as hosts for the tournament while the remaining seven spots will be determined by the qualifying rounds.
The tournament was initially scheduled to take place in the Zambia, but they withdrew from hosting in July 2017.
The tournament will determine which three African teams will compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics men’s football tournament in Japan.