Flames coach Meck Mwase can afford a sigh of relief as all 29 local players he called for camp for 2022 Afcon qualifiers against South Sudan and Uganda tested negative for Covid-19.
The test was the second one the players also took another one in their respective homes before regrouping.
The 29 players then underwent a second test at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre on Tuesday and the results came out negative.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Covid-19 Task Force chairperson Chimango Munthali said the second test was done because after the first, the players went back into their communities where they might have been exposed to the virus.
“The test was done 72 hours after the first one because the players were still in their communities after the PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test,” he said.
Munthali said the association will continue with regular tests while the team is in camp.
He said: “We can’t take chances. We are trying to reduce the chances of the virus being present in our camp. These periodic testing will continue whilst the team is in camp. All we want is to have our strongest squad available for the Afcon assignments next month.”
Mwase said he is relieved that he will have all the 29 players that he called into camp.
“We need to have a strong squad so that we can win the two games if we are to qualify for the finals,” he said.
New 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) regulations state that a match can still take place with a minimum of 11 players if others test positive for Covid-19.
However, if the players are less than 11, the match will be called off and the team that causes this loses the match 2-0.
Malawi is third in Group B with has four points from a win against South Sudan and a draw against Burkina Faso.
The West Africans lead the group with eight points followed by Uganda with seven while South Sudan is at the bottom with three points.
Group winners and runners up will qualify for the finals to be held in Cameroon next year.