Twelve new faces, including six players from youth and regional leagues, have been drafted into Flames provisional squad in preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon next month.
Players from the youth and regional leagues that have earned their maiden call-ups are goalkeepers Clever Nkungula (Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve) and Innocent Nyasulu (Rumphi United), defender Andrew Lameck (Bangwe All Stars), midfielder Robert Saizi (Mpima Academy), strikers Chikondi Mbeta (Maggie Chombo Academy) and David Daudi (Bullets Reserve).
Also making their first call-ups from TNM Super League are defenders Norchard Chimbalanga (Mafco), Lawrence Chaziya (Civo United), Kelvin Kadzinje (Mzuzu Warriors), Emmanuel Nyirenda (Mighty Tigers), midfielder Wisdom Mpinganjira (Mighty Wanderers) and striker Mphatso Kamanga (Karonga United).
During a press briefing held yesterday at Mpira Village in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre, Flames technical panel head Mario Marinica said most of the new faces have been roped in to fill in the spaces created by some Bullets, Silver and Civo players, who will not be in camp this week due to club commitments.
He said: “These young players have been drafted in so as to get integrated in the national team setup as part of the Flames transition as we wait for the senior players that are busy with club commitments.
“We want them to prepare psychologically.”
Marinica said the Flames will have three camping stages before their departure for camping in Saudi Arabia on December 23.
“Some players are in the provisional squad not for the purpose of the Afcon finals, but other future events such as the Chan [Championship of African Nations] in March 22,” he said.
Flames coach Meck Mwase said they are hopeful that they will have a strong squad ahead of the Afcon finals next month.
Experienced players that have been called up are goalkeepers William Thole, Richard Chipuwa, Ernest Kakhobwe and Brighton Munthali; DefendersNickson Nyasulu, Gomezgani Chirwa, Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi, Paul Ndhlovu and Mark Fodya.
Midfielders are Chikoti Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana, Misheck Selemani, Yamikani Chester, John Banda, Schumacker Kuwali, TawongaChimodzi, Loyd Njaliwa and Micium Mhone while Hassan Kajoke and Vincent Nyangulu are the experienced strikers.