Malawi National Football Team defender Charles Petro is struggling to secure a place in his Moldova side Sheriff Tiraspol’s starting lineup.
To make matters worse, Petro has even failed to make an appearance on the substitutes’ list in the past three matches.
This is happening at a time Tiraspol are progressing in the Uefa Champions League, where they have made it to the third qualifying round.
Out of the last four matches that Sheriff have played in the Champions League, Petro has featured just once in the 4-0 thrashing of Albanian side Teuta Durres in the first qualifying round.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets defence pillar was introduced in the 90th minute.
This is the first time for Petro to go three games without featuring for Sheriff since joining early last year.
He was on the bench during Sheriff’s 1-0 win over Teuta in the second leg of the qualifying campaign, which saw his side progressing 5-0 on aggregate.
In both matches of the second qualifying round against Armenian side FC Alashkert which Sheriff won 0-1 away on Tuesday last week before a 3-1 home victory at home on Wednesday, the 2019 TNM Super League Best Defender was also sidelined.
However, his compatriot, striker Peter Banda, has featured in three out of the four matches.
Banda was on the bench in the first leg of the first qualifying round before coming in as a second half substitute in the second leg.
The former Bullets attacker was also introduced as a second half substitute in the first leg of the second round qualifier before breaking into the starting lineup on Wednesday.
Banda said he was delighted that they have progressed to the third qualifying round of the elite European club competition.
He said it was unfortunate that Petro is struggling for action despite working hard in training.
“We are working hard to help the team to win matches. Of course, competition for places in the starting lineup is quite stiff. For now, we are just encouraging each other to concentrate on what we came here for. We win as a team and teamwork will see us through,” Banda said.
Soccer pundit Kevin Moyo said he believes that the going is getting tough for Petro.
“There must be stiff competition for places in the team and this is taking its toll on Petro. He was brilliant last season and featured in most of Sheriff’s matches,” Moyo said.
He said most Malawian stars that have also played in Europe, before have struggled for game time at their respective clubs.
“It is never easy in Europe where clubs keep buying good players. Petro has been there for over a year now and I am sure he has adapted to European culture and knows exactly what to do to win back his place,” Moyo said.
Petro signed for Sheriff in February last year while Banda joined the club on loan early this year.