Football Association of Malawi under-17 national team and Malawi School Sports Association (Massa) also under-17 have merged to form one that will participate at Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Associations (Feessa) tournament, which will be held in Arusha, Tanzania from August 17 to 24.
At first, FAM’s team was training separately in preparation for the Cosafa u-17 Championship which Malawi will host from September 25 to October 5 while the Massa team was preparing for the Faessa tourney.
At the moment, Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) ordered FAM and Massa, who are both sponsored by government, to work together.
Henry Mereka acting executive secretary of Sports council observed that having two national teams of the same age group was a duplicate.
They suggested the teams work together instead of squandering resources two same aged group teams at the same time, saying If concentration is on one team comprised of two, strong resources would be poured in.
“Actually, if they have one team, it means they will use the Feassa tournament to prepare for the Cosafa Under-17 Championship which Malawi is hosting,” he said.
Blackson Malamula general secretary for Massa said players in the team that FAM has been asked to form will be students.
“The agreement is that only those players that are students should be in the team going to Tanzania. Our understanding is that a player who is under-17 must be in school. This tournament is for students only not school leavers,” he said.
FAM has assembled a 30-member Under-17 national team squad following a two-day inter-regional tournament held two weeks ago.
Malamula said Massa coaches were part of the initial players’ selection exercise in regions and they expect the 20-member squad going to Arusha, Tanzania to be those identified by their coaches.
“We have been working with FAM. We have a pool of Under-17 players which we gave to FAM and 20 of them made it into the final 30-member squad. These are the players that we will take to Tanzania. This way, we are giving the Malawi Under-17 national football team the best platform to prepare for the Cosafa Youth Championship,” he said.
The team, which leaves for Tanzania tomorrow by road and will be under a technical panel headed by DeKlerk Msakakuona, is in Group C alongside Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.