Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says the remaining nine foreign-based players have confirmed their availability for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against South Sudan and Uganda.
FAM competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said in an interview yesterday that there were fears that some players, especially those based in Europe, might not make it due to travel restrictions amid Covid-19.
“But we have an assurance that all the remaining foreign-based players will not face any hurdles.
“Besides that, foreign clubs have also confirmed that they will release the players ahead of the two matches as per Fifa requirement,” he said.
Zakazaka said the development means that these players will join the squad in Sudan on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s qualifier against the Bright Stars.
On his part, football analyst Felix Ngamanya Sapao attributed the poor performance to suspension of football in the country.
“It is not surprising that Malawi lost 4-0 to Ethiopia. What result did we expect when the TNM Super League had not seen any action since February 20. Football is a game that needs practice and constant action.
“Ninety-five percent of the Flames players are from our dormant league and having been out of action for long. It’s the same as a pre-season whereby players need six to eight weeks to be 100 percent fit.”
The nine players are Moldova-based Charles Petro and Peter Banda, Georgia-based Fransisco Madinga and South Africa-based Limbikani Mzava, Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango, Gerald Phiri Jnr, Richard Mbulu, Dennis Chembezi and Khuda Muyaba.
Three others, Mozambique-based John ‘CJ’ Banda and Schumacher Kuwali as well as Ethiopia-based Robin Ngalande, have already joined the squad.
In an interview yesterday, Flames coach Meck Mwase said the availability of the 12-foreign-based players is a boost against South Sudan on March 24 and Uganda five days later in the Afcon qualifiers.
“It is not that the local-based players are bad, but it clear that inactivity has taken a toll on them as evidenced with their performance against Ethiopia.
“We are now banking our hopes mainly on the foreign-based players who have been active,” he said.
Malawi lost 4-0 to Ethiopia in a friendly game played on Wednesday.