Malawi National Football Team Coach Meck Mwase has included South Africa-based defender Limbikani Mzava on the list of foreign country-based players for next month’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against South Sudan and Uganda.
The Flames will first lock horns with South Sudan away on March 24 before lining up against Uganda at home some five days later.
Mzava last played for Malawi in 2018 against Kenya in a friendly which the Flames lost 1-0 on their return from an Afcon match against Morocco.
Mwase said he was determined to give the Amazulu defender another chance when he draws the list of foreign country-based players for the two matches.
“Of course, Mzava has not honoured any call-up under my tenure as head coach but I have the belief that he knows what featuring for a national team means to a player. Every player should feel good to play for their national team. Mzava is enjoying a rich vein of form at Amazulu and he can help us with his experience,” he said.
Former Flames coach Kinnah Phiri said the team needed Mzava’s services in view of the fact that the two games must be won at all cost.
“Winning the two remaining games will bolster our chances of qualifying for the 2022 Afcon finals. We therefore need all our best players if we are to reach the Promised Land. Mzava is one of the players who can give us depth at the back. We need an experienced player like him in these must-win games.
“I know the player might be having some issues with some other people or someone within the system. I would therefore urge Fam to engage someone to talk to the player first before calling him for national team duty. We cannot afford to lose such a player now,” Phiri said.
However, football analyst George Kaudza- Masina said recalling Mzava would be a sign of desperation.
“Inviting the player for national duty again after a two-year absence shows total desperation by the coach. Mzava has not honoured any call-up for the Flames since 2018, citing injury among other reasons only to be seen playing for his South African clubs.
“My take on this matter is that Mzava does not want to play for the national team again for whatever reasons. It appears he has issues with the authorities. Unfortunately, he has not come out clearly on this matter. I would therefore advise Mwase against recalling him until all issues that could be there are sorted out,” Masina said.
Malawi are currently third in Group B of the qualifiers with five points while Burkina Faso are leading with nine points.
Uganda are third with eight points. South Sudan anchor the table with four points.
The four teams have played four matches each.
The country’s foreign contingent that Mwase is likely to select his team from has players such as Gabadinho Mhango, Dennis Chembezi, Richard Mbulu, Gerald Phiri Junior, Khuda Muyaba, Charles Petro, Francisco Madinga, Peter Banda, Christopher John Banda and Schumacker Kuwali.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.