The Malawi Under 17 national football team has left for Mauritius where the team will participate in the COSAFA Youth Championship.
The team of 20 players and 6 officials left on Saturday afternoon through the Chileka Airport in Blantyre.
Speaking before departure, head coach Decklek Msakakuona said they are geared to better their achievements at two previous tournaments where they won bronze after finishing third.
“We have had good preparations and am confident we can do better than the two previous editions, by going to the finals and even winning it. We will have to win our first group match which will be vital to set us on the way,” said Msakauona.
The coach added that his boys will be further motivated to win the trophy in order to automatically qualify for next year’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) Junior Championship.
“The boys are all aware of that and it will act as further motivation to eye for the glory,” he said.
The Under-17 departs just two days after the country’s Under-20 flew out to South Africa for the first leg of the final round of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against The Amajita.
Speaking in a separate interview, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) President Walter Nyamilandu was upbeat that both junior sides will do the nation proud.
“These teams represent the future of our game, that’s why we have done everything possible to prepare them well for their respective tasks. As FAM we believe the boys will shine on the international stage and fly our flag higher,” said Nyamilandu.
The Under 17 squad has five faces from last year’s bronze winning side, while the rest are new.
Malawi are in Group C alongside Zimbabwe Swaziland and Angola.
The tournament runs from 9 to 19 July, 2018.
Decklek Msakakuona – head coach
Temwa Msuku – assistant coach
Enos Chatama – Team manager
Christopher Mwenegamba – Team doctor
Hethwin Mkumbaleza – Goalkeeper trainer
James Mwenda – Leader of delegation