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Abel Mwakilama out of Swaziland game

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Malawi under-20 national football team left for Swaziland Thursday ahead of Sunday’s return match of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers without Portugal-based striker Abel Mwakilama.

During the week, Football Association of Malawi General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, said Mwakilama was expected to join the junior Flames’ squad in South Africa while in transit to Mbabane.

However, Mwakilama’s name was conspicuously missing on the 19-member final squad released on Wednesday evening.

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Team Manager Aubrey Nankhuni Thursday confirmed that Mwakilama was not released by his Portuguese lower division team, Sporting Clube de Esmoriz.

Mwakilama is an able striker who has transferred his form of Chitipa United to the Portuguese side where he is among the top scorers.

“There was communication from his team that they cannot release him because the team is not doing well. We have just accepted the inconvenience.

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“However, we do not expect his absence to affect the team’s performance because we have rectified the scoring problems. Much as his presence provides confidence and motivation to his friends, the boys performed well during our camp training,” Nankhuni said.

In Mwakilama’s absence, Nankhuni said Coach Meke Mwase has selected strikers Chinsinsi Maonga, Frank Chizuze, Alex Tsamba and Chikondi Mbeta.

As usual, senior national team Coach, Ronny van Geneugden, is part of the junior Flames’ travelling party.

The junior Flames drew 0-0 against Swaziland in the first-leg match played at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe a fortnight ago.

The overall winner between the two sides will face Angola in the next round of the qualifiers.

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