Malawi Under-20 national football team must beat Mozambique in their second Group A match this afternoon if they are to remain in contention for a semi-final slot at the Cosafa Under-20 Championship.
The Junior Flames face the Mozambicans at Shinde Stadium in Mufulira, Kitwe from 3.30pm, hoping to revive their campaign after losing their opening match 2-0 to hosts Zambia on Sunday.
Coach Meke Mwase says his charges have recovered from the poor start and have switched their focus to this afternoon’s contest.
“The boys have put the loss behind them and are raring to go as we prepare for our second match. They know the importance of this match and are raring to go.
“We have worked on the psychological aspects and tactics,” he said.
Mwase also said despite the loss to Zambia, his team’s performance was not hopeless.
“The truth is that fatigue caught up with the boys towards the end largely because we did not have proper preparations. Otherwise, the performance wasn’t as bad as the result reflects,” he said.
Initially, there was a cloud of uncertainty over the team’s participation due to lack of funds until the 11th hour when the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) got funding from government.
Chinsinsi Maonga, Peter Banda, Fransisco Madinga, Andrew Maliselo, Chikaiko Batson and Hadji Wali are some of the players expected to carry Malawi’s hopes.
Mozambique coach Victor Matine said it is important that they start on a good note so as to realise their target of going through the group stages.
The Young Mambas are seeking a first ever regional championship at this age-group level and go into the tournament with high hopes.
“We intend to improve our performance this year and ensure that our team goes past the group stages,” Matine said. “We are aware that this is not an easy task, considering that we have difficult opponents in the group. We will do everything to ensure we qualify.”
The Junior Flames’ last group match will be on Saturday be against guest side Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who were taking on Mozambique yesterday.
The other Group A match slated for this afternoon is between Zambia and DRC.