In a dramatic turn of events, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has revised Flames call up for the upcoming international friendly match against China with Under 23 players brought on board to replace old gurus.
Interim coach Gerald Phiri had named a very strong 29 man experienced local based players last week in readiness for the match but the association has advised Phiri to use Under 23 players as one way of creating a new pool of talented youngsters.
According to a statement released by the FA on Friday and signed by General Secretary Alfred Gunda, the decision to have the squad revised has been influenced by the rebuilding exercise that FAM wants to undertake in order to expose young talent in readiness for the upcoming 2018 CHAN games and 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers and Cosafa Castle Cup tournament.
“We have three major tasks ahead if we include the Cosafa and looking at where we are coming from we need to create a new crop of players for the senior national team. More than half of the players that we had called earlier have been in the Flames setup before.”
“So we are replacing the regulars with Under 23 players to be assessed for inclusion in the CHAN and Afcon plans,” read the statement. The FA has also explained that the decision will help Phiri and his assistant Declerk Msakakuona to fulfill their mission of nurturing young talent.”
“Gerald and his assistant Declerk Msakakuona are junior national team coaches (Under 20 and Under 17 respectively) so this platform will help complement their efforts of nurturing young talent for elite performance which they started with respective Cosafa assignments last year,” reads the statement.
The country’s soccer governing body says the reviewed squad will be released in due course.
On Thursday night, the Flames were drawn in crucial group B 2019 Afcon qualifiers alongside Cameroon and Morocco.