Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, has suffered a setback as their proposed friendly against Mali in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has been called off.
However, there was also good news for the Flames as Nyasa Big Bullets duo of Chimwemwe Idana and Gomezgani Chirwa tested negative for Covid to enable them to travel to Cameroon.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Competitions and Media Director Gomezgani Zakazaka confirmed both developments Monday.
Zakazaka said the friendly against Mali could not proceed following Covid-related cases in their opponents’ camp.
“The match between Mali and Malawi, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been called off. The organisers of the match have informed us that Mali will not be able to play that match because of the positive cases in their camp.
“Initially, the match was supposed to take place last week on Thursday, but was postponed because Mali had arrived late in Saudi Arabia. This means the match will not take place,” he said.
The Flames were hoping to play two or three friendlies but have played once after beating Comoros Islands 2-1 on Friday last week.
Zakazaka said the Flames would tomorrow morning leave for Cameroon via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“They will be joined by three players who are currently in Malawi. That is Chimwemwe Idana, Gomezgani Chirwa and Charles Thom. The trio will leave Malawi on Tuesday [today] and they will meet with their teammates at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Wednesday before proceeding to Cameroon,” he said.
Zakazaka also confirmed that Idana, who was voted TNM Super League player of the season, and full-back Chirwa have been cleared to travel after testing negative for coronavirus.
The two were self-isolating after testing positive for Covid just before the Flames left for Saudi Arabia.
He also disclosed that Simba SC attacker Peter Banda would leave Tanzania today before joining the rest of the squad tomorrow.
Some players who did not make their final squad, including injured Schumacher Kuwali, Brighton Munthali, Stain Davie, Nickson Mwase and Paul Ndhlovu, left Jeddah for Malawi yesterday.
Midfielder Gerald Phiri Junior, who has announced his retirement from the Flames after his omission from the final squad, was also expected to return to Sudan to concentrate on club football.
Fam Technical Director Mario Marian Marinica has included promising attacker Zebron Kalima of Silver Strikers and Civil Service United defender Lawrence Chaziya in his 23-member squad.
Most senior players— including captain Limbikani Mzava, forwards Gabadinho Mhango and Richard Mbulu, Stanley Sanudi, Yamikani Chester, Christopher John Banda and Ernest Kakhobwe— are part of the squad.