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Disjointed preps worry Ernest Mtawali

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As the country’s national football team, the Flames, prepare to fly out for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Zimbabwe, coach Ernest Mtawali has bemoaned the absence of several players in camp.

Mtawali said he was unable to train all locally-based players because of TNM Super League and Presidential Cup matches.

“It has been hard to work on team coordination in the absence of all the players I called into camp. But I have always learnt to make the best out of situations, and this is just one of them,” Mtawali said.

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The Flames legend called 27 local and foreign-based players into camp in Blantyre, leaving out seasoned midfielders, Robert Ng’ambi and Chimango Kaira.

Training commenced on Monday with 12 players only as six from Be Forward Wanderers were in Mzuzu for a league match against Moyale Barracks.

Then six players from Bullets and one from Blue Eagles were released on Monday afternoon for Wednesday’s Presidential Cup round-of-16 tie at Nankhaka in Lilongwe.

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Wanderers players joined their colleagues in camp on Tuesday, whereas those from Bullets and Eagles rejoined the squad yesterday.

The Flames will first play against Botswana in a friendly match this weekend before meeting Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s Warriors lead Group L of the qualifiers with eight points while the Flames lie bottom with only two points.

After playing in Zimbabwe, the Flames will shift their focus to this year’s Cosafa Cup tournament to be hosted by Namibia from June 11.

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