With Flamesâ€™ Africa Cup of Nations qualification a sure tall order, there must be regrets that Malawi did not register for the African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers.
The Chan tournament is exclusive to home-based African players and its finals will take place in South Africa in 2014.
Malawi was conspicuously missing when the Confederation of African Football (CAF), led by its secretary general Hicham El Amrani, held the draw at Cairo headquarters on Thursday.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed Malawiâ€™s withdrawal from the second edition of the tournament.
â€œYou can understand the stretch on our budget. It is a blow that we were unable to register for the tournament. It surely was going to give international exposure to the Flames since most of its players are now from the Super League,â€ said Nyirenda.
FAM only registered for the 2013 Nations Cup, 2014 World Cup and African Under-17 Championship after receiving only K70 million (about $280 000) out of an estimated budget of K200 million (about $800 000), according to Nyirenda.
â€œThere are no sanctions for non participation but when you withdraw after registering,â€ he said.
Several Super League players contacted described the non-participation in Chan as a huge blow considering that local clubs do not have the financial capacity to participate in CAF competitions.
During the draw, CAF included fixtures for the preliminaries and first and second round matches from which 15 teams will emerge to join hosts South Africa for the finals.Â CAF released the results of the draw on its www.cafonline.com.
â€œThe qualifiers are played on regional basis with the composition of the finalists as follows: two from North Zone, two from West A Zone, three from West B Zone, three from Central Zone, three from Central East and three from South Zone (including hosts South Africa).
â€œThe seeding system used for the draw took into consideration amongst other criteria the teamsâ€™ performances from the last two editions of Chan finals rankings,â€ reads the website.
In 2010, most members of Malawi Chan squad such as Foster Namwela, Harry Nyirenda, Dave Banda and Simplex Nthala eventually took over positions in the main squad. In the inaugural Chan edition, Malawi eased past Mozambique in the first round before bowing out to Angola 3-1 on aggregate.
In the latest development, the senior Flames lost 2-0 in Ghana on Saturday, leaving the Kinnah Phiri side with a huge task of registering a 3-0 margin win in the reverse fixture on the weekend of October 8 2012.
Nyirenda said they would wait for a report on the Accra game before strategising on the return match.