South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit Bidvest Wits has released Malawian winger Gerald Phiri Jnr for Flames participation at this year’s edition of the Cecafa East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup in Ethiopia.
Confirming the development on Wednesday, Flames team manager Clement Kafwafwa said the youthful attacker will join camp today alongside Mozambique-based pair of midfielder Chimango Kayira and goalkeeper Simplex Nthala.
Bidvest were legally allowed to hold onto the youthful forward owing to the fact that the Cecafa tournament does not fall on the calendar of world’s football governing body Fifa.
Speaking in an interview, Kafwafwa said Flames coach Ernest Mtawali phoned his Bidvest counterpart Gavin Hunt to ask for Phiri’s special clearance.
“Gerald is not featuring in Bidvest matches because he is still awaiting his permanent residence permit. We reasoned with his club that he needs to play competitively so that he does not lose form,” the Flames team manager said.
Kafwafwa described Phiri’s pending arrival as a boost for Flames as they prepare for the crucial 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Guinea in March next year.
“We are building a team so we want our key players to play together as much as possible. This will help them to gel before the Afcon assignment,” he explained. “We are pleased that Gerald and other foreign based players will play together at this competition.”
Meanwhile, the team manager has said striker Chawanangwa Kawonga, who plays for Costa do Sol in Mozambique, and all local players have joined camp.
“We are expecting the other Mozambique professionals Simplex and Chimango to join us on Thursday (today). They were late because they featured for cup games,” he said.
The Cecafa tournament, which draws together teams from East Africa, will be held from November 20 to December 6. Malawi, located in southern Africa, are participating as guests.