Fireworks are expected as former African footballer of the year Samuel Eto’o will take part in an exhibition match marking the inauguration of Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre Wednesday.
The game is one of the activities lined up to spice the occasion as well as Fifa President Gianni Infantino’s first visit to Malawi.
The event will also mark the launch of Fam Football Academy. Both projects are Fifa funded.
The four-time African footballer of the year, Eto’o and Malawi’s celebrated football export Ernest ‘Livewire’ Mtawali will lead different teams that will battle in the match.
Eto’o a two-time Afcon, three-time Uefa Champions League and one-time Olympic champion will lead a team of Fifa and Fam officials also comprising former French national football team attacking midfielder Youri Raffi Djorkaeff, a 1998 Fifa World Cup and Euro 2000 winner with France.
Infantino and Fam President, Walter Nyamilandu, alongside Flames Coach, Meck Mwase, his assistants Lovemore Fazili and Bob Mpinganjira as well as Malawi Under-20 coach and former Flames captain Peter Mponda are expected to feature for Fifa/Fam side.
On the other hand, Mtawali will lead a team of former Flames greats such as like Patrick Mabedi, Chancy Gondwe, Swadick Sanudi, Joseph Kamwendo and Fischer Kondowe.
Former Flames Coach, Kinnah Phiri will take charge of the Fifa/Fam while another former Malawi coach, Yasin Osman will head the Flames Legends squad.
Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, said the country was excited to host the Fifa delegation.
“It is very exciting to see Eto’o and Djorkaeff come to Malawi and play a match. Malawians have for a long time, been looking forward to see Eto’o in Malawi. Flames did not play Cameroun during the time he was playing. We have had big stars from Ivory Coast, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria and Ghana coming to Malawi but not Eto’o.
“As Fam, we thought of also honoring our own sons to come and be part of this great event
“Having the Fifa president in our country to appreciate our football development projects is exciting. It gives us a chance to showcase what we are doing with their money and enable as lobby for more,” he said.
Mtawali said he was excited to be called for such a match and thanked Fam for the gesture.
“This is a great initiative to have former players come together and mingle with top officials we hope this should continue beyond this meeting,” said Mtawali whose illustrious career took him to South Africa, Argentina, France, Italy and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Gunda said Fifa delegation will arrive at the Chileka Airport Wednesday at 2pm and will proceed to Mpira Village in Chiwembe to tour the stadium and its official inauguration.
The delegation which also comprising Caf President Ahmad, Fifa General Secretary, Fatma Samoura, Deputy General Secretary Football, Mattias Grafstrom, Fifa Acting Head of Member Association Veron Mosengo- Omba, Fifa Head of Communication Onofre Costa, Fifa Presidents Office Manager Federico Raviglione and Fifa Regional Development Officer David Fani, will leave the country at 8 pm tomorrow in the evening.