A club-versus-country tug-of-war looks imminent over Flames coaches’ decision to hold on to all players currently camping ahead of this the Independence Celebrations game on Monday against Uganda’s Cranes at Kamuzu Stadium.
Flames interim team manager Chancy Gondwe yesterday said the message he got from the stand-in Ernest Mtawali-led coaching panel was that no player will be released.
“According to the office, they are not releasing anyone except those that will not make the final squad, who will be released this Saturday,” Gondwe said.
Be Forward Wanderers, who face Airborne Rangers at Kalulu Stadium in the TNM Super League first-round match this Saturday, have contributed to the Flames Francis Mlimbika, Isaac Kaliyati, Muhamad Sulumba and Richard Chipuwa.
Wanderers vice-team manager Steve Madeira yesterday said he would consult Gondwe over the players’ release. Sulumba was expected to join the squad later yesterday after returning from South Africa on Wednesday where he underwent trials at Jomo Cosmos alongside Micium Mhone of Blue Eagles.
Eagles travel to Silver Strikers this Saturday. The cops have contributed to the national team John Banda, Phillip Masiye and Mhone whereas Lucky Malata, Green Harawa and Tizgobere Kumwenda come from the Bankers.
Kumwenda has since been released through injury and Silver Strikers acting general secretary Fred Kalonga expects the rest to be available for the meeting with the cops. Fisd Wizards midfielder Ernest Tambe is also out through injury.
“That is the more reason we agreed to have the game pushed from Sunday so that the players can return to the national team either on the same night of Saturday or Sunday morning. If they will not be released, then it will be a big blow to us. I have to talk to the team manager on this,” Kalonga explained yesterday.
For Fifa sanctioned games, clubs that have contributed over three players are exempted from games locally. There are more clubs whose players are also in camp.
Moyale Barracks has in training MacDonald Harawa and Dues Nkutu whereas Tigers has contributed Peter Cholopi and Yamikani Chester. Bullets have five players at the national team, but they are on bye this weekend.