TNM Super League returnees Red Lions will miss the services of all their new players in the first round of the forthcoming season as they are expected to undergo military training from next month.
During the last transfer window, Lions signed 12 players from various teams across the country to strengthen their squad ahead of the 2020 season.
However, the newcomers are yet to start playing for them as the season remains suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among the notable players that the Malawi Defense Force side signed are former Silver Strikers attacker Ronald Pangani, Davie Banda formerly a Nyasa Big Bullets striker and ex-Chitipa United star Khumbo Banda.
Red Lions Coach, Tione Mhone, said he has called the civilian players for an assessment this Sunday before they go for the six-month training as soldiers.
“We signed close to 12 civilians but unfortunately, we will not start the season with them because we submitted their names for military training. So it is obvious that we will miss their services. However, there are capable replacements and our supporters should not worry,” Mhone said.
He said the assessment will be non-contact in line with Covid-19 prevention measures.
“After the assessment, we will embark on physical fitness training to help the players prepare for the military training. We will group them into three categories of defenders, midfielders and strikers.
“They will train up to Friday and we will see what happens afterwards. There will be no contact during these sessions as the main aim is to help the players prepare for the military training,” Mhone said.
Lions are back in the Super League after lifting the Southern Region Football League Premier Division title last year.
The Zomba-based soldiers were relegated from the elite league in 2018 after a string of poor performances.
Moyale Coach, Collins Nkuna, said they also have civilian players who will go for training.
“We are yet to prepare that list of players. Our bosses will advise on how many will go for the training. We will come out with the names once the list is ready,” Nkuna said.