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Malawians in continental club action

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BY MABVUTO KAMBUWE & RONALD MPASO:

Confederation of African Football club competitions are on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Malawians getting involved in different capacities.

Local giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers are set to kick off their Champions League and Confederation Cup campaign, respectively, as Malawi’s representatives while Kinnah Phiri and Patrick Mabedi will be involved as members of their teams’ technical panels in the two continental competitions.

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Kinnah will be in charge of eSwatini’s Mbabane Swallows who arrive in Tanzania today for their Champions League match against Simba in Dar es Salaam while Mabedi is assistant Coach for Kaizer Chiefs, who will play against Zanzibar’s Zimamoto at FNB Stadium Tuesday.

Silver arrived in Libreville, Gabon, on Saturday for Tuesday’s match against AO CMS after making a stopover in Nairobi, Kenya, where they lost 2-0 to Tusker FC on Friday in a strength testing match. The Central Bankers left the country in the wee hours of Thursday.

Bullets flew out of the country Sunday through Kamuzu International Airport for Wednesday’s first leg match against Kenyan giants Gor Mahia at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

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The People’s Team is without midfielder Kondwani Kumwenda and striker Mussa Manyenje who failed to make the final squad. Striker Patrick Phiri is also out due to the injury he sustained while playing for the Malawi under-23 national football team in a 1-1 draw against Botswana at Kamuzu Stadium last week.

Coach Kalisto Pasuwa has named a strong squad which comprises two goalkeepers Enerst Kakhobwe and Rabson Chiyenda and two recognised strikers Chiukepo Msowoya and Bright Munthali.

Defenders are John Lanjesi, Miracle Gabeya, Sankhani Mkandawire, Emmanuel Zoya and Yamikani Fodya whereas Henry Kabichi, Chimango Kayira, Nelson Kangunje, Mac Farlen Mgwira, Righteous Banda, Fischer Kondowe, Dalitso Sailesi, Mike Mkwate and Bashir Maunde are the midfielders who have made the trip.

Bullets played two strength-testing matches against JKU of Zanzibar which ended 2-0 and 0-0 in Blantyre and Zanzibar, respectively. The People’s Team also took on Tanzanian giants Simba in a match that ended goalless.

In 2015, Bullets exited the competition in the first round after losing 6-2 on aggregate to Sudanese giants Al Hilal.

Speaking before departure, Bullets Team Manager, James Chilapondwa, said his players were eager for the opening match.

“We have dropped some of the players on technical grounds but we still have a strong squad for Wednesday’s match. We are confident of getting good results although we will be playing without our home support,” Chilapondwa said.

Silver lost to Be Forward Wanderers 2-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre and defeated Mafco 2-1 in Salima District in their two home friendlies.

Should Silver emerge overall winners of the two-legged preliminary round affair, they will meet Raja Casablanca of Morocco or RD from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the first round. Bullets will take on Lobi Stars of Nigeria or Cameroon’s US Louam should they go past Gor Mahia.

The Central Bankers have travelled with a strong squad minus Jack Chiona, Mike Robert and Newman Mwamsamale who are injured.

Last year, Be Forward Wanderers took part in the Champions League but got eliminated after a 6-1 aggregate loss to AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo whereas Masters Security also exited the tournament after losing 5-0 to Petro de Luanda on aggregate.

Silver squad:

Goalkeepers-Brighton Munthali, Steve Micheta

Defenders-Yunus Sherrif, Chisomo Mpachika, Mike Mtonyo, Herbert Wayekha, Mark Fodya.

Midfielders: Trevor Kalema, Young Chimodzi Junior, Levison Maganizo, Victor Limbani, Lazarus Nyemera, Kondwani Mwaila, Thuso Paipi, Duncan Nyoni.

Strikers: Green Harawa, Zikani Kasambala, Mphatso Phillomon, Khuda Muyaba, Mike Tetteh.

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