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Flames off to Kenya for African Nations Championship

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THE Flames’ will finally take the first step in their quest for a maiden appearance at the African Nations Championship finals by flying to Madagascar this afternoon from Chileka Airport in Blantyre.

The team will first fly to Nairobi, Kenya, for a friendly match against the Harambee Stars on Tuesday before starting off for the Indian Ocean island nation. Making the trip are 20 players, with Nyasa Big Bullets’

Ernest Kakhobwe, Lemani Nthala of Kamuzu Barracks and Silver Strikers’ Bright Munthali picked up as goalkeepers. Defenders are Pempho Kansichiri, Yamikani Fodya, Francis Mlimbika, Stanley Sanudi, John Lanjesi and Lucky Malata.

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Nine midfielders- Dave Banda, Levison Maganizo, Simeon Singa, Harvey Nkacha, Dalitso Sailesi, Kelvin Hanganda, Gilbert Chirwa, Yamikani Chester and Chimango Kaira have made the trip. Coach Ronny van

Geneugden will have very few options in attack as he has only two strikers in Kamuzu Barracks’ Manase Chiesa and Bullets’ Muhammad Sulumba. Gerald Phiri Senior and De Klerk Msakakuona will travel as the Belgian’s assistants, with Peter Mponda taking up the role of team manager.

Phillip Nyasulu and Levison Mwale will make the trip as goalkeeper trainer and team doctor respectively. Football Association of Malawi Vice President, James Mwenda, will lead the delegation which departs

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Chileka Airport at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Mponda said Bullets and Kamuzu Barracks national team players who were released for yesterday’s Chifundo Charity Shield match, will fly from Kamuzu International Airport before being joined by their colleagues at Chileka.

Phiri Senior justified the inclusion of three goalkeepers for the trip, saying it is a safety measure to guard against injuries. He also ruled out any concerns on the selection of only two strikers for the away match.

“Most of our midfielders are attack-minded. Should the need arise, we can play any one of them in front. We have also picked three goalkeepers because we do not want to face a situation where we remain with just one goalkeeper where the other gets injured or is redcarded,” Phiri Senior said.

On the team’s game plan, Phiri said the intention will be to attack while also minding the defence. He said the team will aim at getting a point in the away match.

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