flames have secured two international friendly matches against Zimbabwe Warriors at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre and Zambia’s Chipolopolo at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) said the October 11 match against Zimbabwe will be played in an empty stadium as per CAF guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Zambia friendly match will be played on October 7.
The friendly matches have been lined up to help the Malawi national football team prepare for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations’ (Afcon) back-to-back qualifiers against Burkina Faso’s Stallions in November. There are doubts that the Cosafa Cup—slated for October 2 to 17 in Durban, South Africa—will be held within schedule.
In an interview yesterday, FAM general secretary (GS) Alfred Gunda said: “Unless there will be changes, CAF’s guidelines are clear that there should be no spectators.”
He also said they are awaiting CAF’s approval for the two matches.
Said the GS: “It is CAF which is supposed to sanction matches, but on our part we did the groundwork and we are hopeful that CAF will approve the matches.
“That process was started sometime back because we are required to inform CAF at least 15 days before the proposed dates.”
In the meantime, Gunda said they have agreed with their Zambian counterparts—Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)—to check their respective protocols in line with the Covid-19 preventive measures.
He said: “So, what it means is that they [FAZ] will advise us on the requirements in terms of issues like whether our delegation will be required to go in isolation on arrival and so on.
“We’ll also do the same as we prepare to host Zimbabwe.”
Meanwhile, FAZ has also confirmed finalising arrangements for the friendly match scheduled for Nkoloma Stadium.
Chipolopolo coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has since called up 40 local-based players who were expected to start camp training yesterday in Lusaka.
After the Flames match, Zambia will then travel to South Africa for another friendly match against Bafana Bafana on October 10 before facing Kenya’s Harambee Stars.
Flames coach Meck Mwase has said the two friendly matches will be vital in preparing the Flames for the Burkina Faso matches.
“The importance of these friendlies cannot be overemphasised as you know the local-based players have been inactive for over six months which is a long time in football,” he said.
Mwase is also optimistic that his foreign-based players will be available for the friendly matches since they will be played within the Fifa calendar dates.