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Rains disturb Flames, Under-23 training

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By Ronald Mpaso:

Physical training for the senior Malawi national football team and the under-23 side faced several challenges in its first week with rains disrupting Wednesday’s session at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre while three players failed to report.

The two teams regrouped in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu in preparation for their qualifiers scheduled for March.

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The Flames are preparing to meet Morocco at Kamuzu Stadium in a dead rubber Africa Cup of Nations qualifier while the under- 23s will face Zambia in a home-and-away fixture in Blantyre and Lusaka.

But while training in Lilongwe and Mzuzu went on smoothly, Blantyre-based players failed to train on Wednesday because the running track at Kamuzu Stadium was waterlogged.

Flames Team Manager, James Sangala, said conditions at the soccer mecca were not favourable because of a heavy downpour in the Commercial City that lasted about three days.

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Sangala said this forced the technical panel to shift Wednesday’s session to yesterday.

“There was too much water on the running track and it was not possible for the players to train. We therefore decided to shift the session to Thursday. This means that instead of finishing week one on Friday [today], we will finish on Saturday to give the players time to rest,” he said.

Sangala also said three players missed two sessions on various grounds in Mzuzu and Blantyre.

He said Patrick Phiri and Peter Banda were not available at Kamuzu Stadium while Pilirani Mapira missed the session in Mzuzu.

“Patrick is in Karonga attending to his sick father while Peter is unwell. Pilirani was already in the Southern Region when the call-up was released. Otherwise there were no challenges at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe where Central Region-based players are meeting,” Sangala said.

He said week one training will still end today in Lilongwe and Mzuzu, while Blantyre-based will revert to the normal schedule from Monday as they enter week two.

Peter’s uncle Griffin Saenda Junior confirmed that the starlet was taken to hospital after developing high fever and a cough.

“He is receiving treatment at home right now and he will only return to training upon his doctor’s recommendation. It is difficult for us to say when this will be. We can only hope that it will not take long. But he is responding well to treatment,” Saenda Junior said.

The players are on non-residential training in preparation for full time camping ahead of their respective matches.

Flames Head Coach Ronny van Geneugden, his assistant Peter Mponda and goalkeeper trainer Swadick Sanudi are in charge of the Blantyre session while under-23 Coach Meke Mwase and his under-17 counterpart DeKlerk Msakakuona are overseeing the Lilongwe training.

Charles Kamanga has been given the task of guiding players who are training players at Mzuzu Stadium.

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