Four Under-20s in Malawi COSAFA Cup squad

Impressed by a performance in Angola where Malawi managed to upset tables against the hosts in a 4-1 routing in Under-20 Afcon, Flames coach Ronny Van Geneugden (RVG) has roped in four players from the team into the senior squad that is in camp in preparation for Cosafa Cup.

Excited RVG said in an interview on Tuesday from South Africa where the team spent a night before flying to Malawi that he had decided to draft captain Charles Thom, Hastings Banda, Charles Petro and Peter Banda into the senior national team that leaves for South Africa on Friday.

Malawi lost 1-2 at home in the first leg, but earned a surprise 4-1 away victory in reverse encounter on Sunday.

RVG, who accompanied the team, said: “After the games we played against Zambia, Swaziland and Angola, we decided that players that were outstanding in terms of maturity and leadership should be considered to join the senior team.

“These players [Charles Thom, Hastings Banda, Charles Petro and Peter Banda] are really knocking on the door of the senior national team.”

Attacking midfielder Banda won the 2017 Cosafa Under-17 Golden Boot Award and recently underwent trials with Orlando Pirates.

The Belgian coach said this is part of his the Flames rebuilding exercise.

“It is my strategy that young players that are doing well in the age category national teams must be included in the senior national team.  This is part of my plan of creating a senior team for the future.

“That is why you have seen that I have in the past included players like Peter [Banda], Precious Sambani, Patrick Phiri and Chimwemwe Idana in Flames squad,” said RVG.

RVG has named four foreign-based players—Portugal-based Richard Mbulu, Robin Ngalande who turns out for South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Baroka FC, Zambia-based Lusaka Dynamos winger Dalitso Sailesi and Mozambique-based John Banda in his squad for the tournament to be held in South Africa from May 27 to June 9.

By Joy Ndovi