By Mabvuto Kambuwe & Peter Fote:
Nyasa Big Bullets are exploring the possibility of inviting teams from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania for the 2023 International Pre-Season Tournament slated for March 3-5 at Kamuzu Stadium.
Initially, Bullets had invited Zimbabwe giants Dynamos to take part in the tournament. However, Dynamos are ineligible to participate in an international tournament due to Fifa sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe FA.
Bullets Chief Administrative Officer Albert Chigoga confirmed having been advised by Football Association of Malawi (Fam) not to invite teams from Zimbabwe.
“We are looking elsewhere and negotiations are ongoing,” he said.
Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani said they stopped Bullets from inviting Dynamos for the tournament due to the international ban.
“Any Fifa affiliate under the ban cannot take part in any football related matter either friendly or competitive match. Zimbabwe is still banned by Fifa and Dynamos is an affiliate for Zifa who are banned. This is the reason we gave Bullets,” he said.
The development has forced Bullets to cast the net wider.
Meanwhile, Chigoga said discussions were underway with several teams including Tanzanian and DR Congo teams.
“We understand the situation of Zimbabwe football so we are looking at several options within the region,” Chigoga said.
However, Chigoga kept a tight lid on the identities of the teams from DRC and Tanzania.
Former African champions TP Mazembe and AS Vita are strong teams from DRC whereas Simba SC, Young African Sports and Azam FC are from Tanzania. But Simba are currently in Dubai for pre-season.
The tournament is expected to attract four teams. Mighty Mukuru Wanderers have already confirmed their participation in the tournament whereas UD Songo is yet to confirm.
Last week, Dynamos confirmed that they will use the tournament to prepare for the new season. However, Dynamos spokesperson Tinashe Farawo was not readily available yesterday to comment on the new twist.
Sports analyst Sherry Msuku said it will be a good opportunity if they manage to invite strong teams.
“This is a very important initiative. Players and technical panels for all teams will learn a lot,” he said.
The tournament returns this year after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chicken Inn from Zimbabwe won the 2019 edition at Kamuzu Stadium after beating all the three teams; hosts Bullets, Wanderers and Songo.
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.