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Big Bullets, Blue Eagles doubtful for Caf tournaments

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Albert Chigoga

Reality is finally dawning on Nyasa Big Bullets and Blue Eagles on their prospects of representing the country in Confederation of African Football (Caf) club tournaments.

Earlier this year, the two teams announced that they were working on registering for continental football, with Bullets eyeing the Caf Champions League whereas Eagles expressed intent to compete in the Confederation Cup.

The continental football governing body released a probable schedule for the Champions League and Confederation Cup with the first phase of registration running from September 1 to 20.

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The second phase is scheduled to run from September 21 to 31.

With football remaining suspended in the country, both Bullets and Eagles are likely to find participation in their respective competitions difficult.

Continental football requires high level of fitness which would be difficult for local players to attain as they have not been on the pitch since March when the government declared a state of disaster to curb the spread of coronavirus.

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Eagles vice General Secretary, Williams Nkhoma, admitted that it was difficult to plan for the tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is difficult to plan because we do not know when our game will resume. The going is tough for us just like most local clubs. Even our potential sponsors’ business has crumbled. This makes it a tall order on our part to commit ourselves to that ambitious dream of participating in the Confederation Cup,” Nkhoma said.

Bullets Chief Administrator, Albert Chigoga, said the current Covid-19 situation makes planning for such a big competition difficult.

“We are just waiting for communication from relevant authorities on the future of the game in the country. Otherwise are ready to take part in the Champions League once football resumes in the continent.

“We committed ourselves to participate in the competition but the situation has made it tough for everyone. Football is yet to resume in Malawi and it is difficult to plan under such circumstances. So we are just waiting for communication from relevant authorities on the matter,” Chigoga said.

In July this year, Caf came up with four scenarios to ensure that its competitions are organised in a manner that complies with the pandemic’s preventive measures.

These included cancellation of additional Confederation Cup second round preliminary round and quarterfinals matches, and playing semifinal and final encounters in the same host country but recently abandoned the plan.

The abandonment was followed by an announcement that the semi-final will be played on the usual home-and-away basis.

Caf also proposed that, all factors being constant, the competitions should start in October and be completed in May next year.

Last year, Bullets participated in the Caf Champions League but exited in the preliminary round after losing 2-1 on aggregate to Zimbabwean side Platinum FC.

Masters Security represented the country in the Confederation Cup but were also booted out after losing 3-0 on aggregate to Proline FC of Uganda.

In 2018, Bullets and Silver Strikers represented Malawi but both exited in the preliminary round to Gor Mahia of Kenya and Gabon’s ASC, respectively.

Be Forward Wanderers last participated in the competition in 2017 but also fell at the first hurdle having lost 6-1 on aggregate to AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Champions League whereas Masters lost 5-0 to Petro de Luanda of Angola in their maiden Confederation Cup participation.

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