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Flames opponents in disarray

HOPING TO BEAT MOZAMBIQUE— Marinica (centre) and his players

Mozambique National Football Team’s preparations for their match against Malawi in a 2023 African Nations Championship qualifier have been thrown into turmoil following disagreements over outstanding bonuses.

The disagreements come just two days before the two teams meet at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

Several media outlets in Mozambique reported Wednesday that the players refused to have dinner on Tuesday and also declined breakfast in a bid to force authorities to pay their outstanding bonuses.

“As a result, they will not be able to train ahead of Saturday’s game against Malawi because there are no conditions for that. This is a way they found to claim payment of attendance for selection. The non- payment of daily wages lasts since the game with Mauritania. They will only feed and train, in case the FMF [Football Mozambique Federation] president goes to the hotel to pay what they say is his right,” wrote one of the publications.

Flames coach Mario Marinica has assembled a 28-member squad currently camping in Lilongwe.

Marinica refused to read too much into what is happening in the Mambas’ camp.

He said his immediate concern is the uncertainty over the availability of some of his players.

“This is making life difficult. There is uncertainty over which players we may have available as per the new fixture issued recently indicating games to be played on August 28. Now teams are talking about withdrawing their players. This is quite challenging,” Marinica said.

The Romanian has since beefed up his squad with Mighty Mukuru Wanderers striker Misheck Botoman and Blue Eagles goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.

The Flames qualified for the second round of the qualifiers without kicking a ball after Zimbabwe were eliminated due to a Fifa ban.

Mozambique booted out Zambia following a 1-0 victory on aggregate.

The Chan finals will take place in Algeria next year and Malawi are hoping to qualify for the first time.

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