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Flames friendly cancelled

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Malawi national football team plunge head-long into next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and Cosafa Castle Cup without a warm-up as Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is too broke.

The Flames were eyeing either Mozambique or Morocco for a sparring session on May 28 ahead of the June 5’s Group L match in Harare and the Cosafa Cup kicking-off on June 11 in Namibia.

Fam President, Walter Nyamilandu, confirmed on Tuesday that the association has cancelled the friendly match because it has exhausted its K100 million annual government subvention for the 2015-2016 financial year, and the Flames sponsor, Carlsberg Malawi’s K100 million allocation for that year.

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Nyamilandu said Fam initially budgeted K108 million for the camping, the trip to Zimbabwe and the Cosafa Cup (which takes place in Namibia from June 11), but the budget was slashed to K80 million.

“We have come up with a low-cost budget, but currently our accounts are completely dry. We have exhausted all the funds that were available in this financial year. We cannot afford a friendly match and we have decided to postpone camping which was scheduled to start on May 15,” he said.

“We approached government, but we were told that there would be no extra funding for the national team. We have also been negotiating with other corporate partners and Carlsberg. We are currently waiting for feedback.”

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Nyamilandu said the financial situation posed a threat to the Flames, who might pull out of the qualifiers.

Malawi has two points from five games with two games, including a home against Swaziland. Zimbabwe lead the group with eight points followed by Guinea and Swaziland on five points.

“But that would be the worst case scenario. We believe we still have some chances of qualification if we win the remaining two qualifiers. We can overturn the tables. If we fail to secure funding then we might just travel to Zimbabwe by road without going into camp, just like our counterparts did last year. We have no choice,” he said.

Flames coach Ernest Mtawali, said he would make do with the available resources, adding that he expects most foreign-based players, especially from South Africa, to join camp by May 28.

“It has been communicated to us that there will be no friendly match. We were supposed to start camping this Sunday to assess some of the players, but we understand the situation that there is no money. We have to hope for the best,” Mtawali said.

In Cosafa Cup, Malawi is in Group B alongside Angola, Lesotho and Mauritius.

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