South Africa-based forward Richard Mbulu is the notable exclusion from the Flames squad for the upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
Flames coach Mario Marinica has named a 25-member squad to face Ethiopia’s Walyas this Sunday at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe before travelling to Guinea to take on the Syli Nationale four days later.
Mbulu, whose South African club Baroka FC has been relagated to the second-tier National First Division, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
He was the leading scorer for the Flames during the 2021 Afcon qualifiers, but dropped down the ladder in Cameroon where the coach preferred Frank Gabadinho Mhango and Khuda Muyaba.
Marinica yesterday said Mbulu has been dropped due to loss of form.
The Romanian has included four uncapped players, namely goalkeeper Clever Nkungula, defender Blessings Mpokera, attacker Gaddie Chirwa and left-back Alick Lungu.
Revitalised Mighty Wanderers striker Chiukepo Msowoya, who made his last international appearance against e-Swatini in 2019, has also made the final squad.
It also includes nine foreign-based players, namely defenders Dennis Chembezi and Lawrence Chaziya, midfielders John ‘CJ’ Banda, Charles Petro and Gerald Phiri Jnr, wingers Fransisco Madinga and Peter Banda and strikers Mhango and Muyaba.
There is one player list Blue Eagles goalkeeper Brighton Munthali, is on reserve list.
Marinica has since said he has confidence in the squad he has selected and is happy with the preparations.
Meanwhile, all but two foreign-based players have joined the squad.
Tanzania-based Peter Banda arrived yesterday, but will join camp today while Mhango will be the last to join the squad tomorrow, virtually completing Marinica’s arsenal for the two games.
Jordan-based Chaziya, ‘CJ’ Banda who is based in Mozambique and Georgia-based Madinga joined the squad on Sunday.
South Africa-based Muyaba and Chembezi as well as Phiri Jnr who is based in Sudan, joined camp last week.