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Marinica satisfied with preparations

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Mario Marinica

Malawi National Football Team Coach Mario Marinica has expressed satisfaction with preparations for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

The Flames face Ethiopia on June 5 at Bingu National Stadium in Group D of the qualifiers before lining up against Guinea on June 9.

Malawi will then meet Egypt back-to-back in September before facing Ethiopia and Guinea again in March next year.

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Marinica said despite some setbacks, including some players failing to report for camp training due to club commitments, they had smooth preparations.

“The players that were in camp worked very hard and looked very determined, which is fantastic. This gives me the belief that we are on the right track in as far as our preparations are concerned. The players’ fitness was also up to international standards,’’ he said.

During the second week of camping, Marinica had no Blue Eagles and Civil Service United players due to club commitments.

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The two teams had a match, on Wednesday at Nankhaka in Lilongwe, which ended in a barren stalemate.

Eagles’ players who were called up for the training are Micium Mhone, injured Schumacher Kuwali and Gaddie Chirwa whereas Civil had Ernest Kakhobwe and Kelvin Kadzinje.

The Flames wound up the second week of camp training on Wednesday, with the players returning to their respective clubs for weekend TNM Super League assignments.

However, Marinica said he was concerned about the lack of game time for some foreign country-based players such as striker Gabadinho Mhango, Limbikani Mzava and Richard Mbulu.

“We are concerned that some players abroad have not played for their respective clubs. This is quite worrisome. Ahead of the qualifiers, we need to have all our players featuring for their clubs,’’ he said.

Mhango has had limited game time at South Africa DStv Premiership giants Orlando Pirates despite starring for the Flames during the Afcon finals in Cameroon, where he scored three goals.

Mzava is also enduring tough times at his club AmaZulu in South Africa, where he has not seen action since January.

Marinica is expected to announce his final squad by the end of next week.

The list is expected to include foreign country-based players such as Simba SC attacking midfielder Peter Banda, Dira Gori midfielder Francisco Madinga, UD Songo midfielder John Banda and the Polokwane City duo of Khuda Muyaba and Dennis Chembezi who are enjoying game time at their respective clubs.

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