Soccer pundits have allayed fears that the absence of Scotland-based left back Kieran Ngwenya would negatively affect Malawi National Football Team’s performance against Cameroon in a 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifier tomorrow in Yaounde.
Ngwenya was ruled out of the Flames’ qualifiers against Cameroon and Mozambique due to the United Kingdom’s Covid travel restrictions.
Had the Aberdeen FC defender travelled, he would have been subjected to a 10- day quarantine on his return.
The development put Flames coach Meck Mwase in an awkward position as he needed Ngwenya’s services against the tough Cameroonians.
Ngwenya was impressive during Malawi’s 2-0 defeat to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam in June this year.
However, renowned football analyst Kevin Moyo said the Flames squad which has travelled to Cameroon is the best Mwase could have assembled.
“These are the players who have been doing well at their respective clubs in the domestic league. As for the foreign country-based players, Mwase didn’t go wrong in picking them as he knows what they can offer.
“So there is no need to worry about Ngwenya’s absence as he is still new to the squad and has played just one strength-testing match for the Flames,” Moyo said.
Moyo said it had to be appreciated that Ngwenya’s showing against Tanzania was a once-off performance.
“Suffice to say that he is not a regular to the squad and the Flames back four is intact. The only player Mwase can worry about is Precious Sambani, who is nursing an injury. For now, we can as well do without Ngwenya, who needs to jell with his teammates first before being thrown into the dungeon,” Moyo said.
Another analyst George Kaudza-Masina said it is the goalkeeping department that should be a concern as Ernest Kakhobwe and Brighton Munthali have recently been playing second fiddle at their respective clubs.
“The goalkeeping department cannot just be changed anyhow. Kakhobwe and Munthali are experienced goalkeepers who have gone past their prime at international level unlike the other goalkeepers who are at their peak in the domestic league. The drafting in of Richard Chipuwa has come handy as he is not new to the Flames squad,” Kaudza- Masina said.
The Flames arrived in Yaoundé on Tuesday and were joined by 10 foreign country-based players.
These include Charles Petro, Francisco Madinga, Limbikani Mzava, Gabadihno Mhango, Gerald Phiri Jnr, Dennis Chembezi, Khuda Muyaba, Mike Mkwate, John Banda and Richard Mbulu.
Tanzania-based winger Peter Banda was the last player to join the squad as he left Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Tuesday and joined the team on Wednesday.
After Friday’s assignment, the Flames will host Mozambique at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 7.