They touched down at Chileka International Airport just after 15:30 CAT from Mauritius where they finished third in the Cosafa Under-17 championship before heading to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) offices at Mpira Village with their bronze medals.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda, executive member Daud Mtanthiko and some officials from the association welcomed the team that only trained for two weeks but managed to display brilliant football at the tournament.
Speaking to the press at Mpira Village, Nyirenda hailed the team and made a vow to keep the group together for the upcoming Cecafa tournament later this year.
“Nobody gave us a chance because the team was assembled in a very short period but the boys gave it all and brought the bronze medal to Malawi.”
“We will do whatever it takes to keep the team and we are planning to send the team to Cecafa tournament for Under-17 and Under-20 later this year because this is the future of our football team,” he explained.
On how his association will source money for the Junior team’s participation at the tournament, Nyirenda said:
“The senior team won’t be taking part in major competitions for the next two years. As such, every penny from government will be diverted towards the junior teams and we have also received an assurance from the corporate world that they will support us so we are on course of rebuilding our national team by keeping the junior teams running,” he said.
On his part, FAM executive member Mtanthiko echoed Nyirenda’s sentiments by promising to keep the team running.
Speaking on behalf of the technical panel, head coach Deklerk Msakakuona said the team’s trip to Mauritius was a success and he asked the FA to support the kids if they are to graduate into national team material.
“We only trained for two weeks and we weren’t favourites but after beating Madagascar in the opening game, we told the boys to start believing in themselves,” he said. “We got humbled by Zambia 3-nil but that didn’t stop us from believing in ourselves.”