Malawi National Football Team got a timely boost Sunday after the traveling squad tested negative for coronavirus ahead of the team’s departure for South Africa Monday.
There was also good news after Flames coach Meck Mwase recovered in time for the Cosafa Cup trip. The Flames mentor had been self-isolating since June 10 and missed the friendly against Tanzania.
The technical panel has named a strong 20-member squad and four players on standby, who will also travel with the team. The cup kicks off Tuesday in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
TNM Super League leading goal-scorer Maxwell Phodo, experienced Muhammad Sulumba and Zicco Mkanda have been included in the final squad.
The squad comprises five foreign country-based players namely Tawonga Chimodzi, Dennis Chembezi, Ndaziona Chatsalira, Schumacher Kuwali and Khuda Muyaba.
According to the tournament rules, every team is supposed to register 20 players in the final squad and five reserves in case of Covid related incidents.
Four standby players for Flames are goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba, defenders Eric Kaonga, Pilirani Thulu and Misheck Selemani.
Flames Assistant Coach Lovemore Fazili was optimistic of doing well this year.
“ We have assembled the best crop of players. The players have good attitude and we believe we can bring something good,” Fazili said.
The Flames will start the Cosafa Cup campaign against Madagascar at Isaac Wolfson Stadium on Wednesday before meeting Zambia on July 13 in the final game of the group stages.
Football consultant Kevin Moyo said the technical panel had selected players on merit.
“This is the best squad. It is time for some of the players to prove their worth,” he added.
Comoros Islands have withdrawn due to travel restrictions.
Only group winner and best runner-up will proceed to the semifinals.
In 2019, Malawi exited the competition in the quarterfinals after a 4-2 loss to Zambia in the penalty shoot-out but lost 5-4 to South Africa in Plate Final.
Full squad: Ernest Kakhobwe, William Thole, Stanley Sanudi, Chembezi, Nickson Mwase, Nickson Nyasulu, Mark Fodya, Rafick Namwera, Chimwemwe Idana, Chikoti Chirwa, Chimodzi, Mike Mkwate, Micium Mhone, Chatsalira, Vitumbiko Kumwenda, Mkanda, Sulumba, Phodo, Kuwali, Muyaba.
Reserve: Chimbamba, Kaonga, Thulu, Selemani