Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, have been handed a timely boost after defender-cum midfielder Charles Petro has been cleared to travel to Saudi Arabia after he tested negative for Covid.
The Tiraspol Sheriff player was among the four players that were left behind last week after they tested positive for Covid.
However, after a retest, there was good news for Petro but three players, namely defenders Sankhani Mkandawire, Gomezgani Chirwa and midfielder Chimwemwe Idana, will remain in isolation.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Communications and Competitions Director Gomezgani Zakazaka confirmed that Petro is set leave today for Saudi Arabia alongside Silver Strikers goalkeeper Charles Thom and Mafco left back Norchard Chimbalanga.
“It is good news that Petro has been cleared. But the other three players are still being monitored,” Zakazaka said.
Fam Technical Director Marian Mario Marinica, who is in-charge of the team, is expected to submit his final squad for Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals by Thursday.
This means Petro has a chance to make it into the final squad.
After the first training session at Ittihad Training Complex, Marinica was confident that the players would embrace his philosophy.
“First of all, I would like to implement the philosophy of playing fast and very fast football as well as moving and acting fast. I hope the players will understand the philosophy before we play our first official match,” Marinica said.
The first group comprising 14 players and nine officials arrived on Friday in the oil rich nation for a 10-day training camp. The other group, comprising six players and three officials, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango was expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia yesterday to join his teammates. Simba SC forward Peter Banda has been ruled out of the 10-day camp due to club commitments.
However, he could be available for Afcon finals as he will be released on January 2, seven days before the start of the tournament.
The Flames are expected to face Mali in a practice match on Thursday before meeting Comoros Islands on January 4, a day before they leave for Cameroon.
Malawi will start group B campaign against Guinea on January 10 before meeting Zimbabwe and Senegal on January 14 and 18, respectively.