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Caf increases squad members for Afcon finals


Alfred Gunda

Confederation of African Football (Caf) has increased the number of squad members for teams at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon from 23 players to 28.

The continental showpiece kicks off on January 9 and ends on February 6 2022.

The move is aimed at equipping teams with extra playing personnel in the event of Covid-positive cases.

This means all participating teams, including Malawi National Football Team, will be allowed to register an additional five players on their squad list.

However, the teams will be responsible for the cost of accommodating the additional players.

In a letter to its member associations, Caf said the decision was to allow participating nations to have big squads for the event in case some players test positive for coronavirus.

The continent’s football governing body also communicated that registration of the five additional players will be optional.

“Please note that your federation will bear the cost of international travel as well as accommodation of these additional players on the final list. In view of the above, we would like to inform you that the registration of the five additional players is only optional and not an obligation.

“Concerning the number of substitutions, Caf will apply the law of three substitutions per match (+1 additional substitution in case of extra time) during the final tournament of the Africa Cup of Nations,” reads part of the communication from Caf to all its member associations.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary Alfred Gunda said they had a briefing with Caf on the matter.

“The matter will be discussed at our executive committee level and that is where the final decision will be made,” Gunda said.

Malawi’s challenges as Fam requires about K1.5 billion, which is yet to be sourced. preparations are facing

The government, who are the Flames’ financiers, committed to provide K700 million for preparations.

Fam also has other sources of funds including Fifa, Caf as well as Flames’ official sponsor FDH Bank.

The association has since embarked on fundraising activities which have, so far, yielded about K74 million.

One such activity was a recent golf tournament at Lilongwe Golf Club, where Vice President Saulos Chilima was the guest of honour.

Malawi will be making a third appearance at the Afcon finals, having qualified in 1984 and 2010 in Ivory Coast and Angola, respectively.

The Flames have been drawn in Group B of the finals alongside Senegal, Zimbabwe and Guinea.

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