Nyasa Big Bullets say they will not release their 11 players that have been called for Flames training camp until next week due to their tight schedule.
The Flames are scheduled to face e-Swatini (formerly Swaziland) in the first leg tie of the Championship of African Nations (Chan) qualifiers on April 20.
The 11 players are goalkeepers Ernest Kakhobwe and Rabson Chienda; defenders John Lanjesi, Gomezgani Chirwa, Yamikani Fodya and Charles Petro; midfielders Mike Mkwate, Chimwemwe Idana and Peter Banda; strikers Chiukepo Msowoya and Patrick Phiri.
Bullets director of administration Albert Chigoga yesterday said they have withheld their players as the People’s Team needs to concentrate on their TNM Super League opening match against TN Stars slated for Kasungu this Saturday.
“It is not that we are refusing to release the players, but it is the timing [of the national team] training that we are not comfortable with.
“So, we have told them that we will only release our players for national duty next week,” he said.
On his part, Flames team manager James Sangala said while the absence of Bullets players will affect the preparations, “we understand their situation”.
He said: “They [Bullets] said their coach did not have enough time to be with his full-squad due to national teams’ engagements.
“We have, therefore, agreed that they should join us on Monday and that means the [national team] coaches will have two to three days to assess them ahead of the match which is enough time considering that the interim national coach [Meke Mwase] already knows these players as he has been part of the system,” he said.