Malawi National Football Team Coach Meck Mwase is facing a goalkeeping dilemma ahead of two crucial World Cup qualifiers against Cameroon and Mozambique.
The Flames are expected to face the Indomitable Lions, Cameroon, in Yaoundé on September 3 before hosting Mozambique at Orlando Stadium in South Africa four days later.
In his 25-member squad announced through a virtual press conference on Monday, Mwase called three goalkeepers namely Ernest Kakhobwe, Brighton Munthali and Richard Chipuwa.
But there are more questions than answers on the inclusion of Kakhobwe and Munthali, whose performances have nosedived at their respective clubs.
Kakhobwe, who has been struggling with injuries, is no longer Nyasa Big Bullets’ first choice goalkeeper as Richard Chimbamba and Rabson Chiyenda are above him whereas Munthali has also lost his place as Silver Strikers first choice goalkeeper to youngster Charles Thom.
The inclusion of Chipuwa is justifiable as he is the best goalkeeper in domestic football at the moment.
Mwase now will have selection headache to choose who will be between the sticks against Cameroon and Mozambique.
Mwase justified the inclusion of Kakhobwe and Munthali during the virtual briefing.
“We have maintained the squad but we have only included Chipuwa, who is doing well at his club. We understand that there are more good players and we hope they will be considered in the near future,” he said.
Local players will regroup Wednesday at Mpira Village in Blantyre but Nyasa Big Bullets players will join camp on Thursday after their TNM Super League match against Red Lions.
Malawi is expected to leave for Cameroon on Monday next week. The foreign country-based players will join the squad in Yaoundé ahead of the match.
Former Flames goalkeeper Philip Nyasulu said the inclusion of Chipuwa was long overdue.
“Chipuwa is in form and he deserves it. But I think Charles Swini should have been given another chance,” Nyasulu said.
Also returning to the Flames fold are Wanderers attacking midfielder Yamikani Chester and striker Vincent Nyangulu.
Out of the 25 players in the squad, nine players were part of the 2021 Cosafa Cup team which registered two losses and two draws in four matches.
Some in-form players in domestic football, Vitumbiko Kumwenda and Lloyd Njaliwa, have been left out.
Georgia-based midfielder Francisco Madinga and Tawonga Chimodzi are also in the squad.
Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina, while praising Mwase, said some of the best players have been excluded.
“I think Kumwenda and Njaliwa deserve to be in the squad. But all in all, Mwase has selected the best squad,” he added.
Malawi is also expected to face Ivory Coast in the World Cup qualifiers in October.
The Flames also qualified for Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals and have been drawn in Group B alongside number one ranked team in Africa Senegal, Guinea and Zimbabwe.
Malawi will start their Afcon campaign against Guinea on January 10 before facing Zimbabwe four days later. Their last group B match will be against Senegal on January 18.
Here is the full squad:
Goalkeepers: Munthali, Chipuwa, Kakhobwe,
Defenders: Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi, Nickson Mwase, Limbikani Mzava, Dennis Chembezi, Charles Petro, Keiran Ngwenya, Gomezgani Chirwa
Midfielders: Chikoti Chirwa, Peter Banda, Mhone, John Banda, Chester, Gerald Phiri Junior, Tawonga Chimodzi, Mkwate and Francisco Madinga.
Strikers: Nyangulu, Gabadinho Mhango, Richard Mbulu and Khuda Muyaba.