Malawi Under-20 national football team coach Peter Mponda says the team’s 4-0 win over Comoros will boost players’ confidence ahead of their second game against Botswana tomorrow.
Malawi thrashed Comoros 4-0 with Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves striker Patrick Mwaungulu scoring a hat-trick while Be Forward Wanderers midfielder Francisco Madinga scored the other goal.
The victory, according to Mponda, will give the team confidence as the junior Flames aim at the semi-finals for the first time since 2010.
“We struggled in the first 10 or 15 minutes. I think the boys were playing under pressure since most of them are playing their first major international tournament.
“But it’s good that we managed to recover and scored those goals and won the game. The victory will help a lot to boost the confidence of the players in the next game against Botswana and Zambia [on Monday],” he said.
Malawi briefly topped Group B following their victory only to be toppled by hosts Zambia who whacked Botswana 5-0 in a late kick-off.
Mponda now faces the task to ensure Malawi collect full points in the match against Botswana to avoid playing under pressure in the last game against Zambia.
Ironically, Malawi also started well at the recent Under-17 Cosafa Youth Championship, beating South Africa only to falter in their second game against e-Swatini and the last game against eventual champions Zambia.
Team manager Aubrey Nankhuni said the Under-20 team had learnt a lesson from the Under-17.
“Zambia came to Malawi and won the Under-17 Championship. I think we can do the same here at their backyard,” he said.
But first the junior Flames need to make it to the semi-finals as group winners or best runners-up.
Two top teams in group A and C will clash in the semi-final while Group B winners will take on the best-placed runners-up in the other semi-final.
The third-place play-off will be on December 14 between the two losing semi-finalists followed by the final.
Malawi’s best performance in the age group was in 2003 when they lost 4-0 to Zambia in South Africa.