Malawi national football team is expected to participate at the Ethiopia 2015 Cecafa East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup as guests thanks to Eritrea’s decision to withdraw from the competition.
The organisers of the tournament had earlier indicated that there were no plans to invite a guest team outside the Cecafa region.
But in a twist of events, Eritrea will not go to Ethiopia for the tournament.
“Eritrea are definitely out; they have so far not declared intention to participate and the deadline has already passed.
“We had set the deadline on 20th and so they are the only ones from the region that have not confirmed participation,” Cecafa general secretary Nicholas Musonye said.
Musonye said although a number of countries outside the Cecafa region had expressed interest in taking part as guest teams, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) was the only FA to have formally submitted an official request accordingly.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said they were 100 percent certain that they would be participating at the Cecafa Cup.
“I was on the phone with [Nicholas] Musonye on the same,” Nyirenda said. “What I am waiting for now is a formal written communication.”
He said the Cecafa tournament has helped to expose and develop players such as Micium Mhone, Chimango Kayira and John Banda who are now key national team players.
The Flames want to use the tournament as part of their preparations for their next 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea in March next year.
“The tournament will help a lot in our rebuilding phase as it will offer an opportunity for new players that are coming through so that by the time we face Guinea they will be in shape,” said coach Ernest Mtawali.
Zambia were the guests in the 2013 tournament held in Kenya. The tournament was not held in 2014 after Ethiopia pulled out.
FAM is expected to use funds from sponsors Carlsberg Malawi and Airtel Malawi. n