Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu and Nyasa Big Bullets have joined hands in congratulating Malawi National Football Team defender Charles Petro for helping his Moldova side Sheriff Tiraspol to qualify for the Uefa Champions League group stages.
Sheriff became the first team from the East European nation to qualify for the elite club competition’s group stage while Petro will also become the first Malawian player to compete at that level.
The debutants achieved the feat after holding Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb to a barren draw on Wednesday night. Sheriff progressed to the group stages after winning the first leg 3-0.
Nyamilandu described Petro’s achievement as an inspiration to many Malawian players.
“This is a motivation to many Malawian players. It is a huge milestone in the history of Malawi football. I don’t recall any Malawian playing in the group stages of the Champions League apart from Essau Kanyenda [who was close to qualifying for the group stages but played in the Europa League after his team Lokomotiv Moscow lost at the last hurdle].
“Uefa Champions League is the ultimate competition and this is where we want to be so that our players can compete with the best in the world,” he said.
Nyamilandu said Petro is capable of reaching greater heights in his career because he is humble and disciplined.
“This is a player who has matured very fast, having graduated from our under-17 youth programme and played for Bullets. He has all the qualities to excel in life. In him, you have a humble, disciplined, hardworking, focused and skillful player,” he said.
Bullets Chief Administrative Officer Albert Chigoga said it will be exciting to see their former player rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the world.
“As a club that developed Charles into what he is now, we are extremely proud. We wish him continued success as he enters another chapter of his career. Malawians will enjoy watching one of their own competing with some of the best players in the world,” Chigoga said.
Sheriff are in Group D of the competition, alongside top sides Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shakthar Donetsk