Malawi U-20 crash out of Africa Youth Championship

It was the case of so close and yet so far away for the Malawi Under-20 national football team after failing at the last hurdle to qualify for the Confederation of African Football with an aggregate 3-1 loss to Zambia on Saturday in Lusaka.

Defeated Malawi U-20 side.-Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times
Defeated Malawi U-20 side.-Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

Malawi Under-20 pinned their hopes of an impressive away record after falling 2-1 to Zambia in the first leg two weeks wasting a golden home ground advantage.

Zambia piled pressure on the Young Flames in the first half but they were never offered a room to manoeuvre to score the goal they so needed as early as possible to snuff off their realistic chance of progressing in the competition.

However, the deft Young Chipolopolo forced their way for Malawi Under-20 to succumb to the pressure to concede in the 54th minute through Lari Bwalya who also scored in the team’s 2-1 victory in the first leg.

The loss has shattered Malawi’s hopes of a second appearance of the Africa Youth showpiece since 1999 when the dream team led by Peter Mponda, Fazili Mbundi, Fundi Akidu, qualified in Nigeria under the tutelage of renowned youth football mentor Manfred Honoer of German.

Coach Ernest Mtawali’s bid to reinforce the team with the inclusion of Blue Eagles startlet Schumacher Kuwali to support South Africa-bound Chawanangwa Kawonga failed to pay dividends as the hosts proved too hot to handle.

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