All players in Comoros Island squad facing Malawi on Saturday were born in Europe, but they have now been enticed to play for their original home, The Nation has established.
But the Flames technical panel says it has done enough home work on the opponents, having engaged an agent to spy on the team in Marseille, France when it lost 2-0 to Togo in an international friendly Sunday.
Comoros coach Amir Abdou embarked on a recruitment exercise to convince players with Comorian descent and he now has a 23-member squad lined up against Malawi in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group B qualifier.
The players are based in Belgium, England, France, Greece, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
They include their captain Nadjim Abdou from Millwall (London), Marseille’s Salim Ben Boina, Kayserispor’s Ali Ahamada (Turkey), Sporting Charleroi striker Djamel Bakar (Belgium), Chaker Alhadhur from France’s Stade Malherbe de Caen, Rafidine Abdullah who turns up for Spanish club Cádiz CF and Faïz Selemani who is on loan at French side Tours from Lorient.
Other France-born players are Benjaloud Youssouf, Youssouf Yacoub M’Changama, Ibrahim Rachidi, Nasser Chamed, Fouad Bachirou and Ben El Fardou.
“I have a homogeneous squad that has been formed since 2014 and is growing steadily. The team is getting better with time. Our squad is quite young but does not lack quality. Our selection is constantly increasing and this is due especially to players who play in the European league. There is quality in the Comoros,” Abdou told ESPN.
Ranked 184 on Fifa ladder, Comoros became a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) about 12 years ago. They are expected to arrive in the country today.
Just like Malawi’s newly-appointed coach Ron van Geneugden, the Comoros coach is also under pressure to start reaping the fruits of the recruitment exercise that cost Comoros FA a fortune.
“I have to establish my credibility in order to gain the support of the professionals who play in major European league,” he said.
Speaking to the press after morning training session at Bingu National stadium on Tuesday, though not giving out much about Malawi’s tactics against the Islanders, van Geneugden assured Malawians that his team is ready to face the Comoros team.
“I see a group of players who are very ambitious and want to show and to prove to [the] technical panel that they are ready to fight for their country, and I think the fans will make a very big noise on the day and it will be very hard for Comoros to be successful in our Bingu Stadium,” he said.
Technical director John Kaputa said they had done enough research about the opponents.
He said: “We engaged someone to get us the DVDs of our opponents’ previous matches and give us his analysis. We know everything about them.
“We know all their players are indeed Europe-born. We have also done match analysis on their style of play. We know they are good at possession and tactically disciplined since all their players passed through academies on their way to professional football with European clubs. But we are ready for them.” n