Malawi’s fairytale campaign at Under-17 Cosafa Cup can soar if they overcome South Africa in this afternoon’s semi-final at Stade St Francois Xavier in Prot Louis, Mauritius.
The Junior Flames’ opponents were revealed on Wednesday after South Africa beat Mauritius 2-0 to finish top of Group A.
Namibia beat Seychelles 4-1 to finish as runners-up and will play Group B winners Zambia in the other semi-final.
High-scoring Malawi face a stiff test as they tackle South Africa, who like Zambia, are yet to concede a goal in the competition.
But Malawi coach DeKlerk Nsakakuona said they can be a match for anybody and are eager to cause an upset this afternoon.
Malawi have registered the biggest victory at the tournament through their 5-0 win over Kenya in Group B.
Striker Peter Banda is among the top scorers with three goals to his credit.
He is second to Namibia’s Tjahikika of Namibia, who has four goals.
Frank Chizuze, also from Malawi, is third with two goals while teammates Raphael Banda and Francisco Madinga have a goal each.
Malawi last took part in the last Under-17 Cosafa Cup in Zimbabwe in 2014 and finished fourth.
The team’s best performance in the competition was a gold medal when Malawi hosted the competition in 2001.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said the team is capable of repeating the 2001 feat.
Meanwhile, analysts have pleaded with FAM not to disband the team.
“Let’s ensure that we keep the team so that these players are nurtured into the future Flames,” said Charles Nyirenda, a soccer analyst.