There were tears of joy and celebration at Chileka International Airport as thousands of people lead by Minister of Youth Sports and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila welcomed the Malawi U-20 national football team as they were coming back from their second leg assignment for African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers competition in Angola.
The Junior Flames beat Angola 1-4 at their own backyard to overturn the tables after losing 2-1 at home at Bingu National Stadium two weeks ago and have the final qualifiers of the against South Africa’s Amajita this July.
At exactly 15:10PM the Air Malawi plane carrying the Flames landed at the Chileka Airport. Morale was all over as everyone who was present at the Airport wanted to see and congratulate the lads for bringing good results.
Speaking at the airport, Kasaila praised the players for showing a lion heart by proving wrong to all the doubting thomas’s who did not give them any chance of winning in Angola.
Kasaila said he is very much confident that the team will continue with the winning spirit untill it qualifiers to the AFCON and that government is ready to make everything possible to support the
He further asked FAM to continue joining international junior competitions in order to help in building quality future national team stars.
Kasaila also urged the players to control themselves by avoiding peer pressure and other immoral bahaviours if they are to maintain their performance and enjoy their football talents by playing for a long period.
“We’ll be happy if we see them qualifying and I promise that if that happens we’ll invite them to the State House where they will meet the President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika. But let me first encourage them to be exemplary in terms of discipline because if they don’t do that it will be difficult for them to enjoy their careers,” said Kasaila.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu Manda could not hide his excitement as he saluted the technical panel and the boys for putting their heads up in the second leg.
“Both players, officials as well as FAM officials were called all source of names when we lost the first match but I tried to encourage them to ignore everything and remain focus. Honestly we are very much happy for the job well done,” said Nyamilandu.
He also thanked Malawi government through Ministry of Sports for always being there in supporting all the national team activities.
“FAM alone can not afford to raise money to carter for our national teams, we always rely to our government and we are very much thankful to our ministry because it is always there for us whether we lose or win. It is my hope that with this kind of support one day Malawi will be one of the giants in as far as football is concerned ,” added Nyamilandu.
Malawi is expected to start by playing away to South Africa in the first week of July before they play a return leg a week later in Malawi.
Other notable officials who welcomed the Junior Flames includes; Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) Board Chairman James Chuma and Deputy Mayor for Blantyre City Council Joseph Makwinja.
According to FAM technical director John Kaputa, the Junior Flames need at least two international friendlies and a two-week camp abroad to be mentally ready for the experienced Amajita, who competed at the Under 20 World Cup last year.
The last time the Junior Flames qualified for the finals was in 1999 in Ghana and Kaputa is confident history can be repeated if all the necessary preparations are thoroughly done.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :