The Flames have been dealt a body blow in the countdown to Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Namibia’s Brave Warriors as their key goalkeepers Simplex Nthala and Charles Swini have been ruled out due to injuries.
The development means the Flames will travel to Botswana en route to Namibia today (Sunday) afternoon with two uncapped goalkeepers—Big Bullets’ Owen Chaima and Mighty Wanderers’ Richard Chipuwa.
Nthala confirmed in a telephone interview from Mozambique on Saturday having overstretched his right leg knee ligament during a training session at Ferrviario de Nampula.
“I had advanced to challenge an oncoming striker and in the process, we collided resulting to the injury. Our team doctor has since recommended the application of a POP [plaster of Paris].
“So, as it is, I am definitely out of the Namibia game and I am very disappointed not to be part of the squad,” said Nthala.
Swini who deputises Nthala, has also been ruled out having suffered an injury during Flames training last week.
However, Flames caretakercoach Eddington Ng’onamo on Saturday played down the absence of the two.
“Of course, both Chaima and Chipuwa are yet to earn caps for the Flames, but there is no cause for worry since we’ll be playing an international friendly match against Botswana on Tuesday,” said Ng’onamo.
He also described the development as a blessing in disguise considering that Nthala has not been enjoying game time.
“We have a lot of confidence in both ‘keepers that we have chosen and there should be no cause for alarm,” said Ng’onamo.
Other key players who have been ruled out due to injuries are midfielder Micium Mhone and Frank Banda whereas defender Foster Namwela has been deliberately left out as he is reported to be travelling to Mozambique for negotiations with a top league side over a prospective deal.
But the Flames coaching panel has expressed disappointment with FAM commercial manager Casper Jangale’s move to post the Flames final travelling squad for Namibia on social network Facebook before it was officially communicated to the players.
Jangale posted the travelling squad on Friday morning just a few hours before Ng’onamo and his assistants Ernest Mtawali and Patrick Mabedi officially communicated the list to the players.
The development led to a tense situation during Friday morning’s training session at Kamuzu Stadium where players who were not on the travelling list, appeared out of sorts.
Apparently, the players saw the squad on the Facebook before the morning training session, but were not certain if it was real.
Ng’onamo named the squad after the training session which was the exact as the one posted by Jangale and the players were visibly not amused.
Ng’onamo blamed Jangale for releasing the squad to the public before it was announced to the players.
“We gave FAM the squad purely for logistical arrangements and not otherwise. It does not happen anywhere in the world that a national team squad is released on social network before the players are informed.
“We had not given the okay to FAM to release the names. Players are supposed to know about the travelling squad from us. That is supposed to be the normal procedure elsewhere.
“The situation affected the commitment of the players and it was a very unfortunate situation. Such things affect them [players] psychologically and as coaches, we know how to handle such situations. Anyway, we’ll take up the issue with the authorities at FAM to ensure this does not happen again,” said Ng’onamo.
However, Jangale blamed it on communication breakdown.
“It was the coach who gave the go-ahead to release the list any time from 1am on Friday,” claimed Jangale.