Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has named a 25-player inaugural Under-14 national team squad that will engage either Tanzania or Zimbabwe in a friendly later this year in preparation for global youth tournaments in 2016.
The selection process occurred at Kamuzu Institute for Sports (KIS) in Lilongwe last weekend during a bonanza involving select sides from Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. FAM technical director John Kaputa said they did the selection through National Football Coaches Committee (NFCC) general secretary Benjamin Kumwenda and Thom Mkorongo.
“We want to prepare well for next year’s world youth competitions such as Dana Cup in Denmark. Therefore, we want to have some international friendly games before getting into the global contests,” Kaputa said.
However, he said they are still doing consultation to identify coaches for the squad because they want to make sure the panel is indeed very conversant with youth football coaching.
The development has come after FAM pulled out Malawi U-14 team of this year’s Dana Cup in Denmark last month due to the body’s late submission of application.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano, who was the guest of honour at the event, was impressed with the talent.
The minister could not hide his admiration for the youngsters after the finals which saw Lilongwe City emerge champions after edging out Blantyre City 5-4 in post-match penalty shootout.
“We have very talented youngsters and there is great future for the national football team from what I have seen. What is needed now is to nurture these talents so that it should not go to waste,” said Fabiano.
Principal secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Sam Madula, concurred with Fabiano, saying the tournament was a revelation to the abundance of football talent in the country.
Champions Lilongwe received K200 000 ($382) plus a trophy, runners-up Blantyre got K150 000 ($286) while Zomba, who finished on third place, got K100 000 ($191) and Mzuzu on fourth position got K60 000 ($115).
“The future is promising, but we need to be well organised in schools. We need to have good pitches and trained sports teachers. In the 1970s, we had good pitches and sports structures in primary schools. For a country to be successful, sports should be inculcated in children at an early age. We will work with the Education Ministry to make sure we have good structures,” said Madula.
The named U-14 squad comprises 12 players from Lilongwe (LL), six from Zomba (ZA), three from Blantyre (BT) and the same number from Mzuzu (MZ).
The list is as follows: Goalkeepers: Lazarus Chikadza (MZ), Muhammed Mmali (LL) and Overton Kumtendere (ZA); Defenders: Patrick Kunje (MZ), Price Makhula (LL), Steven Nkhoma (LL), Juma Adam (LL), Fanuel Jeremiah (LL), Wilson Maposa (ZA) and Akuzike Liffa (LL); Midfielders: Sammy Gideon (LL), Lucius Edward (BT), Newton Nsoma (ZA), Amadu Medson (MZ), Frank Kusata (ZA), Francis Gonthi (LL), Noel Sakala (BT), Misheck Rabson (LL), Lovemore Mbeta (LL) and Rahim Ibrahim (LL); Strikers: Emmanuel Mitole (LL), Horis Chunzu (ZA), Jim Mponya Dickson (ZA), Demister Bhima (BT) and Frank Mmadi (ZA).