Flames coach Mario Marinica says he is concerned with the fitness levels of majority of the players during the off-season break.
Marinica told Fam media after naming 32 players to undergo fitness clinics in their respective regions ahead of Flames residential camp next month.
“Most of the players stopped playing in October. This is a major concern for us. Study has proven that players lose 10 percent of the match fitness with a week of inactivity. Moreover, after 12 days of inactivity, blood enzymes associated with endurance performance decreases by 50 percent,’’ Marinica said.
According to Fam, the fitness clinics are aimed at compensating the loss of players’ match fitness which is a result of the inactivity due to the extended break.
The non-residential fitness clinics will run up until January 26. Flames assistant coach Patrick Mabedi will be responsible for the fitness clinics.
Malawi Under-17 National Football Team fitness trainer Chimwemwe Nkhoma, Patricio Kulemeka (Regional Coach), and Flames Physical Fitness Trainer Chikondi Mandalasi will be responsible for Blantyre based players.
Under-20 fitness trainer Andrew Mtalimanja, Regional Coach Williams Nkunika and Flames Assistant Coach Victor Mphande will drill Central Region based players.
The list comprises 26 senior national team players and six Under-23 national team players. Mario has included three goalkeepers namely Brighton Munthali, Clever Mkungula and Charles Thom.
Free agent Lawrence Chaziya, Miracle Gabeya, Precious Sambani, Stenie Davie, Patrick Mwaungulu, Yamikani Chester, Muhamad Sulumba and Gaddie Chirwa are also in the squad.
He has also youngsters Joshua Waka, Chawanangwa Gumbo, Chimwemwe Nkhoma, Innocent Makawano, Festus Duwe and Lloyd Aaron. Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina questioned the purpose of the fitness clinics.
’’He has to understand that players have to rest. By holding such clinics, it does not help matters as it just portrays that our players are irresponsible. These clinics are not important,’’ Kaudza-Masina said.
The Flames are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia for training camp in February before meeting Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
They will face Egypt away on March 20 before hosting them seven days later.
The Flames are second in Group D with three points at par with leaders Ethiopia. Guinea and Egypt have also three points each from two matches.