Malawi National Football Team coach, Ernest Mtawali, has excluded midfielders, Robert Ng’ambi and Chimango Kayira, from next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier and Cosafa Castle Cup squad.
In his 27-member provisional squad going into camp on Sunday in Blantyre, Mtawali has recalled Mozambique-based goalkeeper Charles Swini, seasoned striker Peter Wadabwa, his Be Forward Wanderers team-mates, Jafali Chande and Rafik Namwela.
Ng’ambi and Chimango’s exclusion is hardly surprising considering their suspect performances when the Flames lost 1-2 to Guinea at Kamuzu Stadium in March to go bottom of Group L with two points from five games.
Malawi travel to Zimbabwe on June 4 before turning their attention to the Cosafa Cup which kicks-off on June 11 in Namibia. Malawi is grouped alongside Angola, Lesotho and Mauritius. Only group leaders will proceed to the quarterfinals.
Mtawali, who faces a near-impossible task to ensure the Flames’ progression to the 2017 Afcon finals in Gabon, has also summoned Mafco’s Paul Phiri , Stein Malata and Richard Mbulu .Gerald Phiri Jnr of BidVest Wits in South Africa is also back.
“We are ready. We will do the work in Zimbabwe and in Namibia. You can see that the call -up has new faces. These are the players that have been outstanding. Actually, other players will not go to Zimbabwe, but they will be given a chance at the Cosafa tournament,” Mtawali said.
Ahead of the tough assignments, Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has since secured the Flames a warm-up in Botswana on May 28, the association’s General Secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, confirmed yesterday.
“The team will travel by road to Zimbabwe. We will go by the budget. The team will leave either on May 25 or 26 and have the friendly match in Botswana on May 28. From there, the team will travel to Zimbabwe on June 1. The team will arrive home on June 6,” Nyirenda explained.
As we went to press, Nyirenda was locked up in a meeting with Malawi National Council of Sports where the association submitted a final budget for the trip.
Initially, Fam budgeted K108 million for the trip to Zimbabwe and the Cosafa tournament in Namibia, but the council slashed it to K80 million.