The Flames face a scare ahead of their remaining 2014 World Cup African qualifiers as leading striker Zicco Mkanda is out for a month through an injury.
Mkanda, who appears to be interim coach Eddington Ng’onamo’s main man upfront, tore his left leg ankle ligaments on Thursday while training for his Mozambique outfit, Liga Desportivo de Muculmana (LDDM).
“It’s terrible. I received a sliding tackle from behind and the doctor discovered that my ligaments were overstretched. Both sides of the ankles twisted upwards. I could not walk and even move my toes. But there is now progress,” said the striker who has five caps.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda referred questions on the striker’s injury to Ng’onamo who could not be reached yesterday. Team manager Charles Manda was as of on Tuesday unaware of the injury.
“But if he will be out for that long, then it is a big blow for us. The coach is trying to rebuild the striking force around players such as Zicco and Gabadinho [Mhango], as long-term replacements for the likes of Russel Mwafulirwa and Esau Kanyenda,” Manda explained.
The Flames host Namibia on the weekend of June 7 2013 then Kenya a week later before travelling to Nigeria between September 6 and 10 to wrap up Group F qualifying matches.
With five points just like second-placed Malawi, Nigeria lead on superior aggregate. Namibia are third with three points and Kenya bottom on two points.
There is one more round before five African teams from the current 10 groups can qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil with the first legs to be played between 11 and 15 October 2013, while the second and decisive legs will take place on 15-19 November 2013.