Phiri: Baxter must call up youngsters


After failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Baxter said he plans to do away with some of the old guard in the team, which means he could call up a number of young players to prove themselves in the friendly matches against Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.

The four-nations tournament will be played in Zambia, from March 18-25. This forms part of the team's preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which will resume in September.

The likes of Fagrie Lakay, Siphesihle Ndlovu and Siyabonga Ngezana have shown they are players for the future and an opportunity to represent the national team at a young age will only benefit them going forward.

Baxter is set to announce his squad at SAFA House on Tuesday morning (11h00).

“We did not qualify for the major tournaments, so it’s time to give youngsters an opportunity. Mould the Under-20s and 17s and give them an opportunity to feel what it’s like to be in the national team. By doing this you widen the pool of players and that means you’ll have more players available when others are injured or not around,” Phiri says.

“It’s important for youngsters to get a feel of senior national team football. They get good experience and they will go there to learn. If the opportunity comes they must grab it with both hands. You never know, maybe one of them might become a regular.”