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10 rookies in Flames squad

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Meck Mwase

Flames coach Meck Mwase has named a 39-member provisional squad to start Cosafa Cup preparations on Monday at Mpira Village in Chiwembe township, Blantyre.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) released the provisional squad Friday ahead of the regional showpiece slated for July 6-18 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The squad comprises five foreign-based players and 34 local-based players.

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In the provisional squad, the Flames mentor has given maiden call-ups to 10 players namely Tigers goalkeeper Christopher Mikuwa, Nyasa Big Bullets goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba, Pilirani Thulu of Red Lions, Karonga United duo Anthony Mfune and Thoko Harrison.

Chikondi Kamanga of Silver Strikers, Civil Service United striker Lanken Mwale, Blue Eagles striker Gaddie Chirwa, Blessings Mpokera and Misheck Selemani (both Bullets) have also been included in the squad.

Mwase has also included Tawonga Chimodzi (Cyprus), Khuda Muyaba, Dennis Chembezi (both Polokwane City FC), Schumacher Kuwali (UD Songo, Mozambique) and Ndaziona Chatsalira of Ferraviario de Nacala in Mozambique, who returns to the fold since 2014.

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The Flames boss has recalled strikers Zicco Mkanda and Muhamad Sulumba, who last played for the Flames in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Bullets’ striker Hassan Kajoke has also returned to the national team set-up having been dropped recently on disciplinary grounds.

TNM Super League top goal scorer Maxwell Phodo has also made it into the provisional squad after he was dropped from the friendly against Tanzania early this month.

Football consultant Kevin Moyo said Mwase has called players on merit.

“It is a good squad because it has experienced and up-and-coming players. Other teams like Zimbabwe have also done the same,” Moyo said.

Malawi are in group B of the Cosafa alongside defending champions Zambia, Comoros Islands and Madagascar.

The team is expected to leave for South Africa on Monday July 5 and will start with Madagascar on July 7 at Isaac Wolfson Stadium before facing Comoros Islands on July 10 at the same venue.

Malawi will wrap up group campaign against Zambia on July 13 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Cosafa Cup returns after the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019, Malawi exited the competition in the quarterfinals after 4-2 loss to Zambia on post-match penalties. But finished as Plate Runners to South Africa.

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