By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Malawi national football team Coach Meck Mwase has named a 27-member squad of local based players for camp training in Blantyre from today.
This is in preparation for friendly matches against Lesotho this weekend.
The Flames will play Lesotho twice in Maseru on Friday and Sunday.
According to a statement from Football Association of Malawi, home-based Flames players will leave for Maseru on Thursday and will be joined by their foreign-based teammates in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mwase has given a debut call-up to Nyasa Big Bullets promising defender Nixon Nyasulu and Mighty Tigers youthful striker, Chikaiko Batison.
He has also included five goalkeepers in the provisional squad, namely William Thole of Be Forward Wanderers, the Bullets duo of Rabson Chiyenda and Enerst Kakhobwe, and Silver Strikers’ pair of Brighton Munthali and Charles Thom.
Mwase justified the inclusion of rising stars Nyasulu and Batison.
“We have crucial games ahead of us, so we need to keep everyone ready for the big stage. The two games against Lesotho will also give us a chance to assess some of the new players,” he said.
Mwase has maintained all the foreign-based players who featured in the 1-0 win over Botswana last month.
These are Yamikani Chester, John Banda, Phiri Jnr, Richard Mbulu and Gabadihno Mhango.
Former Civil Sporting Club coach, Millias ‘Jegwe’ Pofera, said Mwase has selected players on merit.
“I am happy with most of the players he has selected. Some of the players, such as Nyasulu and Thole, deserve to be part of the squad. I would be happy if these players are given a chance so that they gain exposure at international level,” Pofera said.
Mwase will use the friendlies as part of preparations for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Flames were drawn in Group B alongside Uganda, Bukina Faso and South Sudan. The qualifiers are scheduled to start next month.
The following is the full squad:
Goalkeepers—Brighton Munthali, Charles Thom (both Silver Strikers), Rabson Chiyenda, Ernest Kakhobwe (both Nyasa Big Bullets), William Thole (Be Forward Wanderers)
Defenders—Charles Petro (Bullets) Stanley Sanudi (Wanderers), Trevor Kalema (Silver), Peter Cholopi (Wanderers) Dennis Chembezi (Wanderers), Precious Sambani (Bullets), Gomezgani Chirwa (Bullets), Nyasulu (Bullets)
Midfielders— Mike Mkwate (Bullets), Chimwemwe Idana (Bullets), Chikoti Chirwa (Kamuzu Barracks), Peter Banda (Bullets), Micium Mhone (Blue Eagles),
Francisco Madinga (Wanderers),
Alfred Manyozo (Wanderers), Felix Zulu (Wanderers), Chimango Kaira (Bullets), Isaac Kaliati (Wanderers)
Strikers—Hassan Kajoke (Bullets), Patrick Phiri (Bullets),
Batson (Mighty Tigers), Foster Bitoni (Eagles)