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‘Cecafa to fast-track Flames rebuilding’

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Flames coach Ernest Mtawali has said this year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, which Malawi is eyeing, could help him come up with his best squad of locally-based players.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is waiting for feedback on its proposal to take part in this year’s competition which kicks off on November 21, 2015 in Ethiopia.

With strong indications that Malawi would participate in the competition, Mtawali said the tournament would be significant to his rebuilding exercise.

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“We usually call a lot of players into camp and most of them do not get the opportunity to play. Cecafa Cup will give us an opportunity to use the fringe players, so that we should have a good picture of how they can contribute to the national team,” he said.

Mtawali specifically mentioned Dalitso Sailesi, Brighton Munthali, Pilirani Zonda and Wonder Jeremani as players that would be given the opportunity to impress.

“If the tournament was played in the off-season, I would have included foreign-based players that have not been called up for national duty recently. But if some of them are available, they will be included so that we can assess them better,” he said.

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The Flames mentor added that the Cecafa Cup would also provide an opportunity for the coaching panel to test a number of tactics.

“We need to prepare different tactics for different matches. For instance, if we are playing away, the priority is to get at least a point. We need to learn how we can play away to get the point,” he said.

“Some of the players are also versatile, therefore, I will move them around to see how they can perform. For example, Stanley Sanudi can play as a right winger and Limbikani Mzava can play in a midfield holding role because they are both comfortable on the ball. We will try to switch the positions to see how best it can work out.”

Mtawali had asked for more friendly matches to fully prepare for crucial 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in 2016.

Since taking over on August 1, 2015, Mtawali has heavily relied on young talent and locally-based players.

He has a record of a win, draw and loss in competitive matches.

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