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Flames doubtful for Cecafa Cup

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Malawi National Football Team’s participation in this year’s Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup hangs in the balance following fears that the tight domestic football calendar might be disrupted.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) hopes that Cecafa secretariat will, once again, invite the Flames to this year’s competition scheduled for Kenya next month.

However, Fam’s General Secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, said Malawi’s participation in the cup will depend on its discussions with the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) over the fixtures.

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If Malawi competes in Cecafa Cup it means that the TNM Super League calendar will likely be disrupted as teams to contribute more than three players each would be exempted from league and cup games, thereby pro-longing the season.

Apparently, the Cecafa event is not on Fam and Sulom’s calendar. But Nyirenda said Cecafa Cup can help the Flames prepare for next year’s African Nations Championship.

“I am yet to pursue the issue of participating in Cecafa. We will be talking to our technical subcommittee on how we should move. We will discuss with our colleagues from Sulom to see whether we can participate in the Cecafa tournament because the programme is very tight in terms of local competitions and the league,” he said.

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Sulom General Secretary, Williams Banda, speaking on Tuesday last week, doubted if it would be possible to allow the Flames to participate in Cecafa.

“Anyway, that is subject to discussion but at the moment both football calendars at Fam and Sulom secretariat do not have anything regarding the Cecafa Challenge Cup,” he said.

Former Flames’ acting coach, Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan, said it was necessary to participate in Cecafa Cup to give players exposure and build cohesion.

“Before you conquer Africa, you must first conquer regional competitions. You see Uganda won the cup last year in Ethiopia and they have qualified for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations,” he said.

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