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Civil’s Raphael Phiri snubs Flames call up

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By Williams Gondwa:

TNM Super League leaders Civil Sporting Club attacker Raphael Phiri has excused himself from joining the Flames camp training ahead of the Africa Nations Championship return match against eSwatini on May 11 2019.

Phiri, who spent over six months on the sidelines last season after sustaining a foot injury, has told Flames interim coach, Meke Mwase, that he is not fit to don the national team colours.

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“I am sure you are aware that, in September last year, I broke my right leg during a league game against TN Stars. I was given a six-month break and I only started playing again in March 2019. I thought it wise to excuse myself [from the Flames] because I don’t want to let down the nation after displaying a poor performance,” he said.

Phiri has been an influential player for the civil servants, after scoring vital goals last season and this campaign.

He scored when Civil beat Karonga United 3-0 a fortnight ago in a TNM Super League match.

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Mwase confirmed that he wanted Phiri to beef up the Flames’ squad in the wings, which have limited options.

“I talked to him over the weekend but he indicated that he feels that he is not fit enough to play for the Flames. I accepted his decision because it is not good just to accept a call-up and fail to deliver. This is national duty; you need to be dedicated enough. He is a good player,” he said.

Mwase said players such as Precious Sambani, Peter Banda and Righteous Banda, who can play in the wings, were all injured.

Flames regrouped on Sunday, weeks after managing a 0-0 draw in eSwatini.

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