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All professionals to be recalled

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Malawi national football team coach, Ernest Mtawali, has confirmed that he will recall all seasoned players for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month to mitigate the effects of TNM Super League recess.

Mtawali, who recently visited South Africa-based players, confirmed on Wednesday that he needs experienced legs when travelling to Guinea on March 25, before hosting the West Africans during the same week in a Group L qualifier.

“As we know, our league is in recess so it’s going to be difficult [to have form-players]. We are rebuilding, but in same vein, the door is open for the majority of professionals,”Mtawali said.

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“Since I took over, most of the guys who played against Zimbabwe were not given a chance because they were not playing at their respective clubs. I think they want to prove themselves.”

The coach fell short of being specific on the names, but he hinted that all players who featured during a 2-1 loss to Zimbabwe on June 13, 2015 will return for the group’s second round games.

During the Zimbabwe match, Harry Nyirenda, Joseph Kamwendo, Zicco Mkanda and Esau Kanyenda featured, whereas Robert Ng’ambi was unavailable due to injury.

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“We need the right balance for the experienced players to show the youngsters the way. We have players such as Charles Swini. All foreign-based players will be given a chance,” noted Mtawali, who has been given beating Guinea as a bench-mark for his one-year contract extension beyond August 1, 2016.

“We went to Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup [in Ethiopia] with predominantly 19 young players. This gave us a chance to assess them. Some players are not ready for the national team.

“It is about consistency. I have always said the door is open to deserving senior players. The technical panel is happy with youngsters such as Dalitso Sailesi, Isaac Kaliyati and Stanley Sanudi and Brighton Munthali,” Mtawali added.

In a telephone interview from South Africa yesterday, the Platinum Stars midfielder, Ng’ambi refused to be dragged into talk about Mtawali’s invitation.

Ng’ambi fell out with Mtawali after not being featured during a 2-2 draw in Swaziland last September.

Ng’ambi’s South African manager, Tim Sukazi, yesterday said his client was ready to play for his country, adding “there is no issue. He just needs to discuss with the football association to work out what is convenient for both parties.”

Recently, seasoned coach Yasin Osman said while Mtawali’s rebuilding was timely, the coach needs to implement it gradually before discarding the veterans.

Mtawali has performance rating of 50 percent having won four games, lost thrice and drawn once in eight matches since replacing Young Chimodzi.

The eight matches include a 1-0 win over Uganda in a warm-up played while he was a caretaker.

Malawi is third with just a point in the group whose surprise leaders are Swaziland on four points.

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