Flames coach Eddington Ng’onamo has called 10 foreign-based players for the March 22 World Cup qualifier against Namibia, away in Windhoek.
They include five South Africa-based Premier Soccer League (PSL) stars defenders Limbikani Mzava, Harry Nyirenda, midfielder Robert Ng’ambi, Atusaye Nyondo and Peter Wadabwa who plays in the lower National First Division for Thanda Zulu Royals.
Midfielder Joseph Kamwendo leads the Mozambique-based quad of teammate Zicco Mkanda, defender Moses Chavula and goalkeeper Simplex Nthala.
Angola-based defender James Sangala completes the foreign delegation that is expected to fly directly to Windhoek from their respective bases.
Surprisingly, missing from the squad are strikers Essau Kanyenda, Chiukepo Msowoya and Robin Ngalande who were among the key strikers in the Kinnah Phiri era.
Ng’onamo said he has selected the 10 based on their form at their respective clubs.
“Chavula has just started playing whereas Sangala is with his team in Portugal doing top-class training. But the rest are enjoying game time at their clubs. I have contacted the coaches of all the clubs and did Internet research for all the players and have statistics for every player’s performance this season.
“My assistants Patrick Mabedi and Ernest Mtawali were in South Africa where they were monitoring the players on my behalf and we have selected players based on merit.
The others that have been left out are not doing well while others are not playing,” he said.
Ng’onamo added that the technical panel was expected to meet last night to decide on the team’s captaincy.
Chavula has been the stand-in captain for the past two years since Peter Mponda stopped playing due to an injury.
“The meeting will decide whether to let Chavula continue or choose another captain,” he said.
The development means that out of the 25 local based player currently in camp, only 10 will make it to Namibia.
Meanwhile, Ngo’namo has justified the inclusion of Big Bullets winger Fischer Kondowe, saying he deserves it.
“People might say a lot of things, but the truth is that I called Fischer on merit. His form has picked up and he deserved another chance at the national team. Ask Mabedi or Mtawali, they will tell you how professional and assertive Kondowe has been in training,” he said.
Mtawali said people should not judge Kondowe based on his past mistakes, but what he is doing now.
“Fischer has been outstanding in training. He is playing like an 18-year old. He gives 100 present output during training. There is no doubt that the coach made a great decision in including him in the squad,” said Mtawali.
Mabedi also concurred with Mtawali saying Kondowe’s current form at the club prompted the technical team to give him a call up.