Government says it cannot fund the Flames’ trip to Botswana to play an international friendly against the Zebras on Sunday ahead of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against the Zimbabwe Warriors on June 4.
Malawi National Council of Sports has provided K17 million for the Flames to fly direct to Zimbabwe.
However, Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said if Football Association of Malawi (FAM) wants to go to Botswana, the association should identify funds funds for the trip.
FAM needs about K10 million to fly to Botswana and play the Zebras this Sunday.
The association’s general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said they are in race against time to source funds for the match to be played in Francistown which is 90 kilometres from the Zimbabwe border.
“As of now, we do not have the funds for the Botswana international friendly. If we fail to get the money, we have no choice but to let the team play the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zimbabwe without playing a strength testing match,” he said.
If FAM fails to source funds for the international friendly, the Flames will fly directly to Harare on Friday, June 3.
Meanwhile, South Africa-based professional players started arriving yesterday.
Harry Nyirenda, Gerard Phiri Jnr, Micium Mhone and Gabadinho Mhango arrived yesterday while Limbikani Mzava’s flight was delayed.
Mozambique-based John Banda, Charles Swini, Schumacher Kuwali and Joseph Kamwendo are expected on Sunday after playing for their clubs on Saturday.
Coach Ernest Mtawali said the coming of the professional players would give him a chance to assess their fitness ahead of the match.
“We are not sure of the international friendly, so it’s good that we have all the players for a few days so that we have time to assess them,” Mtawali said.
Mtawali said while playing the international friendly was ideal, if funds do not permit the team would have to do without the strength testing match.
Initially, FAM wanted the Flames to travel by road to Botswana before proceeding to Zimbabwe.
However, government recommended that the team should fly due to the renewed conflict between ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) rebels.
As Malawi is pondering on the preparations for the away qualifier, Zimbabwe will tomorrow be playing Uganda in an international friendly.
The Warriors are leading Group L with eight points, three ahead of second-placed Swaziland.
Guinea are third while Malawi’s Flames are at the bottom with two points from two draws.