Malawi under 20 national football team coach, Patrick Mabedi has pushed blame to the country’s Super League and poor youth development structure for their miserable outing at the 2020 Cosafa Youth Championship in South Africa.
Malawi was booted out by Zambia in a 2-0 loss on Wednesday to pave way for Namibia to proceed to the semifinals as best runner-up after beating Comoros 1-0.
The junior Flames lost two games including 2-1 against Namibia, and only managed one win against Comoros 1-0 in their opening Group B match.
This means Malawi also failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Nations Cup as the Cosafa championship was used to identify teams for the continental competition.
Before travelling to South Africa, Mabedi set a target to win the championship and qualify for the Africa Nations Cup.
But speaking after bowing out of the Cosafa, Mabedi said the boys played well apart from repeating the same things advised against.
“The game was good more especially second half. We played well, we played good football last 30 minutes, but first half I think we did the same thing that we have been doing, and not taking our chances. But we grow and learn. It was a good game at the end of the second half last 30 minutes, 25 minutes we started to believe ourself to play but I think we should do better to take our chances and score.
“We created a number of chances that we failed to score; this problem started at club level. If you see in the Super League and national team, they do the same. We need to find out where is the problem coming from. Which means our structure from youth development is not good enough. We need to get back to the grassroots and coach these youngsters so that they can do better,” he said.
Mabedi, who was coaching the team for the first time since he was recruited coach for the Under-20 side, said the tournament provided several lessons including the need for long plan preparation, taking chances as they come, and the need to be organised to win games.
“My overall assessment of the whole squad performance, I would say I think it is very important for me to have time to go to all provinces in Malawi and scout and check the players that can fit in the Under 20 also that they have talent to make it, because I still believe there are so many players in Malawi but I think we need to go out, have enough time to check the players, and we need to check in teams because in that 2 weeks was hectic. So, it is actually a process but I believe we will do well and we will get it right,” he concluded.
The semifinals will have group A champions Zambia face Mozambique champions from group A, while Angola as group C champions will play Namibia to determine finalists.