Malawi Under 20 men’s national team coach Patrick Mabedi says the country is blessed with abundant talent in the rural areas which is not exploited due to lack of exposure to organised football.
Mabedi said this at end of a recent Under 20 regional talent identification exercise where his panel scouted 67 players to go into national camp later this month ahead of the 2021 COSAFA Under 20 championships.
The players were identified from a pool of 355 trialists, who were scouted by the National Youth Football Association (NYFA) and the Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) during the district cluster talent identification exercise held between 17th to 18th July.
“It was a great exercise that has helped us to find good players that we wanted. We have also learnt a number of things that need to be improved in the districts to help develop football in the country.
“We have noted through the exercise that Malawi has a lot of talented players in the districts that can help our nation. But lack of exposure to organised competitive football is killing their talent because they remain in the rural areas and end up just playing social football.
“We hope the newly introduced FAM District Leagues will help to expose these rural players so that they realise their full potential,” he said.
Mabedi said after the national camp they expect to come up with their final squad for this year’s Cosafa Youth Championship to be played in December.
“About 15 players were identified in the Northern region, 17 in the Centre, another 17 in the Eastern region and the Southern region produced 18 players.
“we will trim the number after our national camp later this month. The plan is to give the players more international exposure through friendlies before they go to the tournament,” said Mabedi.