Kamuzu Barracks (KB) have suffered an early setback in their bid to defend the TNM Super League title as four key players have been earmarked for United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
They are midfielder Harvey Nkacha, who was named player of the season; Dave Banda, best midfielder awardee and defenders Gift M’bwana and Mustapha Salimu.
Confirming the development yesterday, KB general secretary Lieutenant Dalitso Jeseman said the players, who are all Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers, will be out for six months.
They are expected to fly out of the country in May, just a month after the 2017 Super League season kicks off.
Jeseman conceded that losing the four would be a huge setback but was optimistic that they would defend the title.
He said they have already devised a plan to bolster the squad so that they do not feel the effects of the leaving stars.
“Teams should not think that if these players leave then we are done. We will recruit equally good players to enhance our title defence,” he said.
A Mozambican outfit Desportiva do Songo was chasing Nkacha following his impressive season in which his goals, apart from winning the league, helped KB to reach the Fisd Cup finals.
In an interview yesterday, Nkacha said he has also been informally told about his potential peacekeeping mission involvement.
Meanwhile, the midfielder has set his eyes on going to DRC because the Mozambican club has not made any concrete offers.
“They haven’t brought any offer on the table yet. Unless they come forward with the best offer then I can change my mind and sign for them,” he said.
The midfielder also said KB has assured him that it would not stand in his way if Desportiva do Songo seriously wants to sign him.
Nkacha also dismissed suggestions that being shortlisted for the peacekeeping mission is a reward for winning the title.
“I heard about this trip long before we had won the championship. It’s not a reward. It’s just part of the normal duties we have to undertake as soldiers,” he explained.
The four players will barely take part in the title defence if they travel as they would return in November, a month before the season wraps up.
KB shocked the local football fraternity after it won its maiden title barely five years after earning promotion from the Central Region Football League. n