Mozambique-based midfielder John ‘CJ’ Banda says it is time for the Flames players to prove their worth at this year’s Cosafa Cup scheduled for Durban, South Africa.
CJ, who jetted into the country on Tuesday, said Malawi must target the knock-out stages of the regional competition to be held from May 25 to June 8.
“This is the time to prove we are worth our salt. We need to open a new chapter. There will be no excuses,” said CJ.
The UD Songo player said the squad called into camp by interim coach Meke Mwase has the potential to end Malawi’s bad omen at the regional competition, which for five years, has seen them bowing out at group stages.
“It is a good squad with up-and-coming players blended with experienced ones. But this will mean nothing if we don’t deliver,” he said.
Meanwhile, other Mozambique-based players Richard Mbulu and Chawanangwa Kawonga will join the squad on Friday in South Africa as their team Costa do Sol has midweek fixtures.
South Africa-based Gerald Phiri Jnr (Ajax Cape Town) and Gabadinho Mhango (Bidvest) will also link up with the team in Durban, according to team manager James Sangala.
Mwase has welcomed Patrick Phiri, Precious Sambani, Alfred Manyozo Jnr, Peter Banda, Peter Cholopi, Dennis Chembezi and Gomezgani Chirwa who missed Malawi’s African Nations Championship (Chan) through injury.
He will, however, name his final squad today before the team flies to South Africa tomorrow.
The Flames, who are in Group B, start the tournament with a fixture against Seychelles on May 26 at King Zwelithini Stadium.
Their second fixture is against Namibia two days later at the same venue before wrapping up the group stage with a date against Mozambique also at the same venue.
Meanwhile, Group A has three teams—e-Swatini, Mauritius and Comoros Islands after Angola pulled out last week to concentrate on Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) preparations.
The change has also forced a revision of the fixture list, with the tournament now to kick-off with a clash between e-Swatini and Mauritius at King Zwelithini on Saturday.