Flames’ South Africa-based players have regrouped in Johannesburg ahead of Friday’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said other foreign-based players were also expected to arrive in Johannesburg yesterday .
He said: “South Africa-based players captain Limbikani Mzava [AmaZulu], Dennis Chembezi [Polokwane City], Richard Mbulu and Gerald Phiri Jnr [Baroka FC], Gabadinho Mhango [Orlando Pirates], Mike Mkwate and Khuda Muyaba [Polokwane FC] are already in camp under assistant coach Lovemore Fazili.”
Tanzania-based Peter Banda and Duncan Nyoni (Simba FC), Mozambique-based John Banda (UD Songo), Georgia-based Francisco Madinga (FC Dila Gori) and Moldova-based Charles Petro (Sheriff Tiraspol) were expected to join the squad yesterday.
Meanwhile, 11 of the local players in the 23-man squad leave for South Africa this afternoon.
Initially, the local players were supposed to fly to South Africa on Monday. However, according to Zakazaka, the plans changed due to logistical reasons.
The Flames are third in Group D with three points from two games following a 2-0 loss to Cameroon and a 1-0 win over Mozambique.
Both the Flames and the Elephants are playing their home matches away from home following a Confederation of African Football (FAM) ban on their national stadiums for failing short of minimum standards.
After Friday’s first leg, the two sides will meet again four days later in Benin as home for Ivory Coast.
In a related development, Mozambique, whose national stadium was also banned by CAF, have said they will reconsider their earlier decision to host Malawi in Morocco.
Last week, Mozambique Football Federation (FMF) president Feizal Sidat said in a press statement that they had opted for Morocco as its venue after CAF declared Zimpeto National Stadium in Maputo as unfit to host the Group D matches against Cameroon on October 10 and Malawi on November 16.
However, in the latest development, Sidat said it was not automatic that they would host Malawi in Morocco.
He said: “The choice of the venue for the clash against Malawi will depend on where Ivory Coast will host us on November 11 since the two matches will be played within five days.”