‘Dream team’

Mario Marinica names 9 foreign legion for Egypt clash

IN CAIRO—Part of the Flames foreign-land based players—Picture courtesy of Fam Media

Malawi National Football Team Coach Mario Marinica has selected nine foreign country-based players in the 27-member final squad for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Egypt in Cairo this Friday.

Marinica has included captain John Banda of UD Songo, Amazulu FC striker Gabadinho Mhango, Botosan FC defender-cum-midfielder Charles Petro and Black Leopards defender Dennis Chembezi.

Costa do Sol duo of Yamikani Chester, Chikoti Chirwa, Simba SC midfielder Peter Banda, Polokwane City striker Khuda Muyaba and Juaneng Galaxy FC midfielder Francisco Madinga are also in the final squad.


However, there is no place for Richard Mbulu and midfielder Llyod Njaliwa.

Out of the nine players, Banda and Madinga travelled with the team to Saudi Arabia for a week-long camp ahead of the clash.

Football Association of Malawi Communications and Competitions Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the other six players arrived in Cairo in the early hours of Monday.


“Gaba will be the last player to join the team. Tentatively, he will arrive in Cairo around 1am on Tuesday,” Zakazaka said.

The Romanian has included 18 Malawi-based players in the final squad which was expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia later Monday.

Patrick Mwaungulu, Gaddie Chirwa, Frank Willard, Mark Fodya and Kelvin Kadzinje have been included.

However, striker Chiukepo Msowoya and Gilbert Chirwa have been dropped due to injuries. Christopher Kumwembe, Nixon Mwase and Chawanangwa Gumbo, who travelled to Saudi Arabia, have also been sent back home.

The Flames have played friendlies against Lesotho, Bangladesh and second-tier side Al- Ansar which they won 8-0.

However, Marinica said the camp in Saudi Arabia was good.

“We are on track and we have done really well. The friendlies showed us some shortcomings. But Malawi is no longer a participating team but a competitive one. We hope the competitive edge will give us the points we want against Egypt,” he said.

After a 1-1 draw with Bangladesh, Marinica rued missed chances.

Meanwhile, Egypt Coach Roy Vittoria has named a strong squad comprising Mohammed Salah, Muhammad Sobhi, Ahmed Al- Shinawi and Ahmed Hijazi.

The Flames will host Egypt at Bingu National Stadium next week. Malawi and Egypt have three points each.

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