Only three Flames foreign-based players—defender Limbikani ‘Pupa’ Mzava and forwards Esau Kanyenda and Robin Ngalande—are expected to feature in Saturday’s strength-testing match against Zimbabwe Warriors.
The Flames will use Saturday’s match to tune up for the forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Namibia’s Brave Warriors and Kenya’s Harambee Stars.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda on Wednesday said the bulk of the professionals have been ruled out due to various reasons.
“We were expecting most of them to come, but it appears only Mzava, Kanyenda and Ngalande will be available,” said Nyirenda.
Mzava and Ngalande were scheduled to fly in from Johannesburg on Wednesday while Kanyenda will join the squad on Friday.
According to Nyirenda, those that have excused themselves are Mozambique-based captain Joseph ‘Shakira’ Kamwendo and his deputy Moses ‘Luba’ Chavula and South Africa-based Atusaye Nyondo, Harry Nyirenda, Peter Wadabwa and Tawonga Chimodzi.
“The Mozambique teams said they could not consider our request to release the players because their season is in progress.
“As for Atusaye, the date for the friendly clashes with SuperSport United’s Nedbank Cup final match against Kaizer Chiefs.
“Tawonga’s team, Santos, is preparing for the PSL promotion and relegation play-offs and he also has to sort out his future as his contract is coming to an end. The same applies to Harry [Nyirenda],” said the FAM CEO.
Midfielder Robert ‘Baggio’ Ng’ambi has ruled himself out as he is supposed to attend the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) Awards Gala.
However, Flames caretaker coach Eddington Ng’onamo played down the absence of the other professionals, describing the development as blessing in disguise.