National football coach Ronny van Gneugden (RVG) says the Malawi Under-23 will play five friendly matches during their two-week camping in Belgium.
The team is scheduled to leave the country today through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe according to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda.
RVG yesterday said the team will face top-flight and second-tier league Belgian side as well as another team from Holland.
“One of the teams that we are supposed to play against is K.R.C Genk which is leading the Super League and is from my home town, but it is subject to confirmation as they have a tight schedule due to their participation in the Europa League.
“Others will include First Division side OH Leuve and Roda from Holland. This will provide the players the international exposure they need and also help us tune up for the [joint] 2020 Olympic and Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations [Afcon] qualifiers against Zambia,” he said.
RVG, who is an overseer of all national teams, said the team has also been invited by Genk to watch their Europa League return leg match against Slavia Plaha on Thursday.
“Then we will also watch a league match between Genk and Antwerp next Sunday so that they can learn on professional set-up and the conduct and attitude of professional players in Europe,” he said.
The coach said the squad has a few senior players as it is the same team that will face Morocco’s Atlas Lions in a 2019 dead rubber Afcon qualifier.
On his part, Gunda said the team will leave Belgium for Egypt on March 4 where they will play an international friendly match against their Egyptian counterparts on March 8 before returning home a day later to step up preparations for the back-to-back qualifiers againstZambia.
Coach Meke Mwase said the Belgium camping and the Egypt friendly will help the team tune up for Zambia.
“By the time we face Zambia, we should be fully prepared for the games and we cannot ask for more,” he said.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “We have decided to camp overseas to give the next generation of the Flames an opportunity to realise their fullest potential, noting that it is a highly talented team that needs to gel and get exposed.
“We have taken a futuristic approach by building a new team of high performing players that have the potential of turning around the Flames’ fortunes.”
The list of players is as follows: Goalkeepers: Rabson Chiyenda, Brightone Munthali and Charles Thom; Defenders: Charles Petro, Trevor Kalema, Mark Fodya, Hadji Wali, Dennis Chembezi, Precious Sambani, Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi and Gomezgani Chirwa; Midfielders: Peter Banda, Isaac Kaliyati, Chimwemwe Idana, Mike Mkwate, Ernest Tambe, Lawrent Banda, Gregory Nachipo, Francis Mkonda and Juma Yatina; Strikers: Chikaiko Batson, Patrick Phiri and Hassan Kajoke.