Flames defender Charles Petro has shifted his focus to helping his Moldovan club Sheriff Tiraspol qualify for Europa League after his team lost in Uefa Champions League qualifier on Wednesday.
This follows Sheriff’s 2-1 away loss to Qarabag of Azerbaijan in the second qualifying round of the European elite club competition.
Petro, who played a full game that saw his side reduced to 10-men in the 37th minute following the dismissal of Cameroonian forward Anatole Abang, said there is still a chance to shine at continental level as his team will now play in the Uefa Europa League.
Sheriff will start their campaign in Europe’s second tier club competition from the third qualifying round and they are expected to know their opponents after a draw on September 1.
He said: “It was really sad that we lost our chance of progressing to the next qualifying round of Champions League. However, I have not lost hope of making it to the European stage as I am determined to help my team do well in the Europa League qualifiers.”
The 19-year-old former Nyasa Big Bullets defender has, so far, made history as the second Malawian to feature in a Champions League match after Esau Kanyenda, who played for Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia in 2004.
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said they are proud to have produced the country’s second player to play in the Uefa Champions League and they are hopeful Petro will do well in the Europa League.
Malawi had big-name players that plied their trade in top European leagues such as Ernest Mtawali (Toulose, France), Kennedy Malunga (Circle Brugge, Belgium), John Maduka (Norway), Joseph Kamwendo (Nordsjaelland, Denmark) and Russell Mwafulirwa (IFK Norkoping, Sweden), but they did not feature in the elite European champions league.
The Uefa Champions League, whose matches are played on knock-out basis, is the biggest European club football competition that provides a big platform for players to be spotted by the world’s top league clubs and Petro said he will fight hard to get such a chance.
Petro joined Sheriff in February this year from Bullets for an undisclosed fee after emerging the 2019 TNM Super League Best Defender.
He played for Bullets for one season after being promoted from Bullets’ Reserve side.