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Mixed reactions on Flames squad

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Meck Mwase

Flames Coach Meck Mwase has recalled Mighty Be Forward Wanderers attacking midfielder Yamikani Chester and Cyprus-based Taonga Chimodzi ahead of an international friendly against Tanzania on June 13.

Chester has returned to Flames’ fold having missed back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against South Sudan and Uganda.

Taonga, who is playing for Ommonia Aradippou FC, has been recalled after over four-year absence.

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Conspicuously missing on the list are Silver Strikers star Duncan Nyoni and UD Songo midfielder Schumacher Kuwali whereas Tiraspol Sheriff attacking midfielder Peter Banda has excused himself to concentrate on contractual discussions.

However, there have been mixed reactions on the squad over the omission of TNM Super League leading goal-scorer Maxwell Gasten Phodo (Silver) and Wanderers’ midfielder Vitumbiko Kumwenda.

Through a virtual press conference, Mwase justified the inclusion of Chimodzi.

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“We have been monitoring Taonga for a long time through video clips. I have talked to him personally and I just wanted him to try his luck,” Mwase said.

Taonga was last included in the Flames squad during the World Cup qualifiers in 2014.

In an interview from Cyprus, Taonga said he will give out his best.

“It an opportunity for me to show that I am still a good player,” he said.

Commenting on the omission of the current Super League top goal scorer, Mwase said Phodo and other local players who are doing well in their respective clubs will be considered for the Cosafa Championship and he has since asked Football Association of Malawi for more international friendly matches.

“With the limited time we have it was not possible to call more players into camp but I know that we have more friendly matches, including Cosafa. I am sure we will use them during those matches,” said Mwase.

Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said Mwase should swallow his pride and include in-form players in domestic league.

“I think merit does not exist in Mwase’s vocabulary. He cannot justify why some players have been dropped,” Kaudza-Masina said.

Mwase has included three goalkeepers namely Ernest Kakhobwe, Brighton Munthali and William Thole. All the three goalkeepers have been struggling for game time at their respective clubs.

In defence, Mwase has kept faith in captain Limbikani Mzava, Charles Petro, Peter Cholopi, Stanely Sanudi, Paul Ndhlovu, Nickson Nyasulu, Dennis Chembezi and Stanley Sanudi.

Gerald Phiri Junior, Francesco Madinga, John Banda and Chimwemwe Idana have been maintained in the squad.

Upfront, Mwase has included only one local striker Vincent Nyangulu whereas Richard Mbulu, Khuda Muyaba and Gabadinho Mhango are also in the squad.

Mwase is using the match to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers slated for September.

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