Malawi National Football Team coach Meck Mwase has retained all, but two players from the last 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers in his squad that will face Ivory Coast next month.
The Flames face Ivory Coast’s Elephants in back-to-back qualifiers with the first leg 2022 World Cup set for October 8 at Orlando Stadium in South Africa—Malawi’s home ground and the return leg will be played four days later in Benin as home for Ivory Coast.
Mwase has dropped suspended Nyasa Big Bullets duo of midfielder Chimwemwe Idana and defender Nickson Mwase.
Idana, who is serving two yellow cards, has been replaced by Tanzania’s Simba FC midfielder Duncan Nyoni who returns to the team after being dropped in last two assignments.
Silver Strikers’ defender Nickson Mwase, who missed the last two qualifiers after testing positive for Covid-19, is back in the squad.
His presence has resulted in the dropping of Bullets’ Nickson Nyasulu who had previously replaced him.
The coach said that he had to keep faith in his tried and tested squad that lost 2-0 to Cameroon before recovering to beat Mozambique 1-0 at Orlando Stadium.
He said: “We are continuing with the players we had as we have no time to bring in new players into the setup.
“Nyoni is back as we have seen that there is a gap that he can fill. These are important games as they will determine our destiny in the group so we have to get results.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said 11 local players in the 23-man squad will regroup this weekend before flying to South Africa next Monday.
He said: “They will join South Africa-based players captain Limbikani Mzava [AmaZulu], Dennis Chembezi [Polokwane City], Richard Mbulu and Gerald Phiri Jnr [Baroka FC], Gabadinho Mhango [Orlando Pirates],Mike Mkwate and Khuda Muyaba [Polokwane FC].
“Tanzania-based Peter Banda and Nyoni [Simba FC], Mozambique-based John Banda UD Songo], Georgia-based Francisco Madinga [FC Dila Gori] and Moldova-based Charles Petro [Sheriff Tiraspol] will join the team a week before the match as stipulated by Fifa rules and regulations.”
The Flames are third in Group D with three points from two games following a 2-0 loss to Cameroon and a 1-0 win over Mozambique.
Both the Flames and the Elephants are playing their home matches away from home following a Confederation of African Football ban on their national stadiums for failing short of minimum standards.