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Ernest Mtawali sticks to Limbikani Mzava captaincy

Malawi senior national football team coach, Ernest Mtawali, has— despite recalling former captain Joseph Kamwendo from the wilderness—still entrusted Limbikani Mzava with the Flames arm-band.

“No, no. I do not think there will be any change. As I have always said, we are looking at the long-term. Mzava has age on his side,” Mtawali said yesterday when asked if there will be a change in the captaincy.

Upon being hired on August 1, 2015 to replace sacked Young Chimodzi, Mtawali dropped seasoned players such as Kamwendo—who was then inactive at TP Mazembe in DR Congo—and handed the arm-band to the Mpumalanga Black Aces centre-back, Mzava.

Now with the TNM Super League which provides most players to the new-look Flames on recess, Mtawali has opted for the tried-and-tested legs of players such as Kamwendo, Zicco Mkanda, Harry Nyirenda and Charles Swini.

Kamwendo, who is training with childhood club Be Forward Wanderers while trying to force a potential loan move away from Mazembe, yesterday insisted that all he wants is to slip into the Flames jersey again.

He has missed eight matches under Mtawali.

“I will leave everything in the hands of the coaching panel to decide. I will come in as an ordinary player.

With or without the arm-band, I will always be a leader. I will support whoever will be the leader,” said the experienced attacking midfielder, who boasts 100 caps.

However, Kamwendo’s predecessor, Peter Mponda, yesterday said the midfielder has more experience required for the captaincy.

“It is tricky for the coach. Mzava has done well and every coach decides on the captain. The good thing is that Mzava and Jose are good friends. They share a room when in camp. However, If I were the coach, I would go for Kamwendo,” said the Wizards FC owner.

Mzava, who could not be reached for a comment in South Africa yesterday, captained Malawi Under-17 in 2009. He was also named as a surprise skipper for the the now defunct Escom United had more experienced players such as Elvis Kafoteka, Swini and Maupo Msowoya.

The Flames’ home-based players regroup this Sunday ahead of next month’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations away Group L match in Guinea.

The Flames sit third in the group with a point earned from two games, whereas Guinea (one point) are bottom. Swaziland and Zimbabwe have four points each after two first-round matches.

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