Mario’s Afcon concern
Malawi National Football Team Coach Mario Marian Marinica has admitted all is not rosy as they prepare for the 2023 Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying matches against Egypt next month.
His comments come after he named a 26-member squad of locally based players to go into camp at Mpira Village in Blantyre today.
The Flames will face Egypt in the first leg in Cairo before a return leg at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
Match Day 3 and 4 are slated to take place between March 20-28.
“It is obviously not easy for us to prepare now because there are players who are still on trials, others are unsettled and some are outside Malawi. We need more time to prepare because we have players playing in different clubs and at different levels as compared to our opponents whose players are at big clubs and do not need time for camp to jell.
“We need more time yes, but at the same time we understand the players come from clubs and we have started talks with individual clubs to come to comprise so are we right on track now,” Marinica said.
The 26-member squad comprises three goalkeepers namely Brighton Munthali, Clever Mkungula and Charles Thom. He has also included defenders Lawrence Chaziya, Miracle Gabeya, Mark Fodya, Kelvin Kadzinje and Alick Lungu.
Midfielder Chawanangwa Gumbo, Zebron Kalima, Frank Willard and Patrick Mwaungulu have made it into the squad.
Gaddie Chirwa, Christopher Kumwembe, Promise Kamwendo, Mphatso Kamanga, Stain Davie and Chiukepo Msowoya have also been included.
The first phase of camp runs from tomorrow to Wednesday before releasing the players to their respective clubs. Marinica was keeping his fingers crossed that all players should be available.
“Secondly, we will have the players from February 14 to 24 because we are planning to arrange, a friendly match by late February so we are trying to work towards that. We want to have all the players available for the match in order to have a good squad exercise and fruitful friendly,” he said.
The Flames are expected to have another camp before departing for Saudi Arabia in March where they are expected to play about three friendlies with Saudi teams before traveling to Egypt for the first leg.
Foreign based players including Gabadinho Mhango, Peter Banda, John Banda, Charles Petro, Khuda Muyaba, Dennis Chembezi, Yamikani Chester, Chikoti Chirwa and Francisco Madinga will likely miss Saudi Arabia camp.
Group D is wide open as all the four teams have three points each after two rounds of matches.
The Flames are second in the group with three points just behind leaders Ethiopia on goal difference. Guinea and Egypt are third and fourth respectively.