Yet again, the Flames will not be part of Independence Anniversary Celebrations on July 6.
The development comes after Mozambique and Zambia turned down a Malawi Government invitation to play a friendly match against Malawi National Football Team during the 55th Independence Anniversary Celebrations at Kamuzu Stadium tomorrow.
Confirming the development, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha, who is also the chairperson of the organising committee of this year’s celebrations, said they were late with their requests.
“We admit that we delayed with the offer. The reason was down to the fact that our committee was set up just last week,” he said.
President Peter Mutharika will lead Malawians during the 55th Independence Day Celebrations which will include traditional dances, prayers and armed forces displays.
The two neighbours’ rejection has, meanwhile, forced the organising committee to have a match between traditional rivals Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.
It has been a tradition to fix an international friendly match during the July 6 celebrations.
On rare occasions like last year when Be Forward Wanderers faced Moyale Barracks, has club football been part of the event.
Mwanamvekha said they settled for the two teams because they are crowd pullers.
“In addition to that, these teams are based in Blantyre so it will help us to spend less,” he said.
The organising committee tasked the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to book Mozambique or Zambia for the commemorations.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda, in an interview, said they only approached the two countries a week ago.
“Mozambique feared that taking part in the game could disrupt their league. Having participated at the Cosafa, they could not risk another disruption.
“Zambia excused itself on grounds that we were late with our proposal and they did not have time to assemble a team,” he said.
Malawi had faced Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe in previous celebrations, but Gunda said they did not approach other nations because they are playing at the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) currently underway in Egypt.
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga described their involvement in the celebrations as an honour.
“This is a national event and we welcome it despite that it will stretch our programme as we are also scheduled to play Mlatho Mponela in the league on Sunday,” he said.
Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire also commended the government for choosing them to play the match.
“We thank the government for recognising us to play a match for such a prestigious occasion.
“We will not just play to entertain because there is no friendly against Bullets,” he said.