As Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is mulling whether to withdraw from Championship of African Nations (Chan), their opponents, Madagascar, are leaving no stone unturned.
Madagascar wants to use this evening’s away Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe to kick start preparations for the Chan match against the Flames.
The second leg will be played a week later at Mahamisana Stadium in Madagascar.
Madagascar host Malawi on April 20 in the first leg while the second leg will be played in Malawi seven days later.
French Nicolas Dupuis, who was appointed just last week, has told the country’s media outlet www.newsmada.com that preparations for Chan start with the Afcon qualifiers where he intends to feature a squad of 50 percent locals.
“The story must begin to be written on March 22 in Sao Tome. We plan to use at least use 50 percent local players,” the coach was quoted as saying.
“Depending on the results from Sao Tome, we might use 90 percent locals in the second leg at Mahamasina as we prepare for Chan.”
On the match against Malawi, the newly-appointed coach said they are not bothered by Malawi’s Chan participation uncertainty.
“We have to get the qualification at all cost,” www.newsmada.com quoted Dupuis.
This weekend is Fifa international calendar date and almost all Afcon and Chan participants are playing international friendlies.
However, coach-less Malawi will remain idle having last played Swaziland in last edition of Afcon in September 2016.
But FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda was confident that by April 20, the association would have identified an expatriate coach with two locals set to understudy him.
Gunda said in a statement: “FAM would like to assure the general public and its stakeholders that it shall constantly keep all updated on the progress of the on-going discussions with government, Fifa and the local well-wishers. FAM would like to affirm and confirm that such progress shall be crucial to the final determination on whether to shift from the earlier position [to withdraw from Afcon and Chan] regarding the team’s participation in the upcoming competitions.” n