Tension is reportedly building up in the Flames camp in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where some players have voiced out their concerns against interim coach Marian Mario Marinica’s attitude and style of play.
The Flames are camping in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the 2022 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off on January 9.
A senior player confided on Wednesday that the mood in camp is subdued.
He said: “Generally, the players are not happy with the coach’s treatment. It could be his style of doing things, but it’s not good.
“The use of vulgar words and what have you, even to some officials.
“He has also changed the style of play to long balls all the time. No build-ups. It is something that we just cannot adapt to.”
The player said they were planning to take up the issue with authorities through their captain Limbikani Mzava.
However, Mzava on Wednesday dismissed the issue, insisting that all is well.
He said: “That is not true. It’s all lies. Those are just people who want to create tension within the camp and that is not healthy as we heads towards the tournament.
“If the issue was true, then I should have known. It is unfortunate.”
Marinica could not be reached for comment, but Football Association of Malawi (FAM) competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka also dismissed the issue.
“There is nothing of that sort here. There is peace and calm in camp and such a story will only create confusion,” he said.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said he had not heard anything and that he would follow it up.
Meanwhile, the friendly match against Mali, which was scheduled for today, has been postponed due the Eagles’ late arrival in Saudi Arabia.
Confirming the postponement, Zakazaka said: “Their late arrival is due to Covid-19 issues, but there are plans to have the match played on Friday.”
He also said striker Schumacher Kuwali has been ruled out of Afcon tournament due to a thigh injury.
“He is scheduled to fly back home tomorrow [today],” Zakazaka said.
Three more players Charles Petro, Charles Thom and Dan Chimbalanga left the country on Wednesday for Jeddah after being cleared of Covid-19 while South Africa-based striker Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango joined the squad on Tuesday night.
Marinica was hired as technical director in November, but FAM executive committee appointed him Flames caretaker coach specifically for the Afcon finals, following the team’s poor showing in 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The Flames are in Group B alongside Senegal’s Lions of Teranga, Guinea’s Syli Nationale and Zimbabwe’s Warriors.