By Williams Gondwa:
Malawi national football team’s next opponents in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers, Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions Coach, Clarence Seedorf, has named a strong squad for the October 12 home match against the Flames.
International press reports that Seedorf has beefed up his squad with Switzerland-based attacker Dimitri Oberlin who plays for FC Basel.
Seedorf has also recalled striker Christian Bassogog who was dropped from the game against Comoros Islands, with the Dutchman saying “good young players don’t compete in China or in Asia”.
“Players must understand that if they go after more lucrative contracts, then they forfeit their chances of playing in the national team,” Seedorf was quoted as telling the BBC.
The Indomitable Lions’ former captain, Benjamin Moukandjo, who plays for Beijing Renhe in China, responded to his snub for the Comoros game by announcing that he had retired from international duty.
However, the 42-year-old coach has reneged by reintroducing Bassogog to the fold alongside Clinton N’Jie, Jean Armel Kana-Biyick and Paul Georges Ntep.
The 2019 Afcon hosts drew 1-1 with Comoros earlier this month to lead Group B with four points from two games, having earlier defeated Morocco.
Morocco are third in the group with three points, at par with third-placed Flames, who have an equal number of points after they saw off Comoros 1-0 in June 2017. The Atlas Lions thrashed the Flames 3-0 earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Flames assistant Coach, Peter Mponda, Tuesday said they were not shaken by Cameroon’s strong squad.
“Every game is a challenge for us. When we went to Morocco and when we beat Comoros, it was a challenge. If you look at these teams, they draw their players from big clubs in Europe. We have players who are capable of bringing good results from the remaining assignments,” Mponda said.
Mponda said they expect the Flames to regroup in Blantyre on Sunday ahead of the match in Yaounde, followed by the reverse fixture a week later.
“We started preparing for the Cameroon game just a day after we returned from Morocco. We analysed what went wrong in Morocco. We have also been scouting for players who are doing well in local games because the national team is open to all players who are doing well,” Mponda said.
Meanwhile, Cameroon Team Manager Tchato Mbiayi and Match Coordinator Dikoume Nicolas returned home Tuesday after visiting Malawi to inspect facilities ahead of the reverse game scheduled for October 16. Malawi will also host Morocco then travel to face Comoros.
The qualifiers involve 48 teams split into 12 groups of four teams each, with the overall best from each pool making the final cut.
However, if the hosts win the group, the runner-up will automatically qualify for the finals. No other team will be eligible to qualify from this group.
Cameroon’s full squad
Fabrice Ondoa, Andre Onana, Idriss Carlos Kameni
Fai Collins, Ngandeu Ngadjui, Oyongo Bitolo, Yaya Banana, Jerome Onguene, Gaetan Bong, Jean Armel Kana Biyick, Felix Eboa
Zambo Anguissa, Georges Mandjeck, Pierre Kunde Malong, Pierre Ramses Akono
Vincent Aboubakar, Stéphane Bahoken, Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting, Karl Toko Ekambi, Paul Georges Ntep, Dimitri Oberlin, Clinto Njie, Bassogog.
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