Under-23 to camp in Belgium

The Malawi Under-23 national football team is set to camp in Belgium for two weeks next month in preparation for their next Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Zambia in March.

The camping is being facilitated by Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) who is also a Belgian.

Malawi’s Precious Sambani (L) takes on a Botswana player during the second leg tie at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre

Confirming the development in an interview from Brussels on Friday, RVG said the camping will include friendly matches against some Belgian clubs.

“I have spoken to a number of teams that have accepted to play friendly matches and I am also in the process of booking training facilities and accommodation,” he said.

RVG said apart from providing the team an opportunity to tune up for the second-round qualifiers, the camping will also be ideal as the bulk of the players will graduate into the senior team.

Confirming the Europe camping, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said: “FAM will take responsibility of the air fares and overseas camping costs that will arise supplemented with funding from FDH Bank sponsorship.

“We are arranging for a training camp in February for almost two weeks through RVG in preparation for the back-to-back matches against Zambia that will also act as 2020 Olympics qualifiers.”

He said the Flames mentor, who is also the overseer for all junior national teams, has lined up a series of training matches against several clubs in Belgium.

“He has secured advanced training facilities for the team and has also courted support of the Malawi High Commission in Brussels.

“Over and above that, we have also arranged for scouts to monitor the performance of the players while in Belgium. This has been facilitated by the player agent who has brokered the deal for Yamikani Chester,” said Nyamilandu.

The FAM president said upon returning from the overseas camping, the Malawi Under-23 side is scheduled to play Egypt on March 6/7 in Cairo on their way back home.

“This friendly match has already been confirmed.

“We have decided to camp overseas to give the next generation of the Flames an opportunity to realise their fullest potential, noting that it is a highly talented team that needs to gel and get exposed.

“We have taken a futuristic approach by building a new team of high performing players that have the potential of turning the fortunes of the Flames,” he said.

Under-23 national team coach Meke Mwase thanked both FAM and RVG for the overseas camping as well as the Egypt friendly.

Izi nde zampira! As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail and we cannot ask for more from FAM,” he said.

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