Malawi national football team coach Ronny Van Geneugden (RVG) has maintained eight players from last year’s Cosafa Cup squad in the 2018 edition of the regional tournament to be held in Limpopo, South Africa, from this Sunday to June 9.
RVG is going back to the tournament for the second time challenged to produce better results than last year when Malawi failed to score a goal and bowed out in group stages following a loss to Tanzania and two draws against Mauritius and Angola.
However, the Belgian has maintained the bulk of the players who failed to deliver last year.
Goalkeeper Brighton Munthali, defenders Stanley Sanudi, John Lanjesi, Denis Chembezi, Peter Cholopi and Ian Chinyama plus midfielders Levison Maganizo and Dalitso Sailesi will be hoping to put up a better performance than last year.
“Last year we took some players who were playing at the tournament for the first time. This year we have also given a chance to some new players. With these new players plus the ones we took last year and the professional players, I believe we should be able to compete strongly,” RVG said.
Among the five foreign-based players that were in camp, Namibia-based defender George Nyirenda is the only casualty as Robin Ngalande (Baroka FC South Africa), Richard Mbulu (ADS Portugal), Sailesi (Zambia’s Lusaka Dynamos) and John Banda (Mozambique side Ferroviaro de Nampula) have made it.
None of the four Under-20 national team players that were included in the camping squad, have made it into the final squad.
Peter Banda has been excused as he is preparing for the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination while Charles Thom, Charles Petro and Hastings Banda have been dropped.
Be Forward Wanderers have contributed eight players in goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa, Sanudi, Cholopi, Chembezi , Precious Sambani, Alfred Manyozo Jnr, Rafick Namwera and Felix Zulu.
Nyasa Big Bullets FC is the second biggest contributor with three players—John Lanjesi, Chiukepo Msowoya and Patrick Phiri. Silver Strikers follow with two players in Munthali and Maganizo.
Gastin Simkonda, Chinyama and Gomezgani Chirwa have been roped in from Moyale Barracks, TN Stars and Civo Sporting Club, respectively.
Bullets defender Miracle Gabeya and midfielder Mike Mkwate have also been left out alongside Bullets Reserves midfielder Chimwemwe Idana, Luke Chima (Azam Tigers), Mphatso Phillimon (Silver Strikers) and Raphael Phiri (Civil).
The Flames will leave for South Africa today with Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Innocent Botoman as leader of delegation.
RVG’s assistants are Franco Ndawa and Peter Mponda while James Sangala is the team manager.
Swadick Sanudi is goalkeeper trainer.
Malawi has never won the Cosafa Cup. The closest they got was winning the plate section in the 2015 edition after defeating Zambia 1-0 in the final. n