Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango yesterday failed to fly into the country from his South Africa base after being denied travel by authorities in relation to Covid-19 restrictions.
Mhango and eight other foreign-based players were supposed to arrive in the country yesterday to join the Flames camp ahead of two friendly matches against Zambia’s Chipolopolo and the Warriors of Zimbabwe next week.
In a related development, estranged Flames captain Limbikani ‘Pupa’ Mzava has also been ruled out as he is negotiating with a prospective new South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) club after being released by Highlands Park recently.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM)competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said Gaba was sent back at O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg because his Covid-19 test certificate showed that he was last tested slightly beyond the required 10 days.
“So, we are in the process of sorting that issue and he should be coming on Sunday [tomorrow].
“It was just a n oversight breakdown because he thought he would be tested on arrival in Lilongwe,” he said.
Commenting on Mzava, Zakazaka said: “He is in talks with a prospective new club and apparently the decisive meeting is set for Wednesday. So, under the circumstances, he has been excused.”
Ironically, Mzava has not played for the Flames for about two years now.
However, seven others—Yamikani Chester (USA) Gerald Phiri Jnr, Chawanangwa Kawonga, Richard Mbulu and Dennis Chembezi, who are based in South Africa and Mozambique-based duo of John ‘CJ’ Banda and Schumacher Kuwali flew in yesterday.
Charles Petro will join the team in Zambia from Moldova while Georgia-based midfielder Francisco Madinga is doubtful due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The Flames travel to Lusaka on Monday for Wednesday’s strength-testing match against Chipolopolo at Nkoloma Stadium before hosting the Warriors on Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.