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Robert Ng’ambi returns

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MALAWI National Football Team Coach, Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) is, five months into the job, yet to identify his regular starting XI. Little wonder he is determined to try out more new players in the forthcoming friendlies scheduled for Morocco.

But the coach will be pleased to have seasoned midfielder, Robert Ng’ambi for the first time in his job. Ng’ambi missed the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Comoros Islands in June because of a road accident involving his wife.

The Belgian, who has won once, drawn and lost thrice since his appointment in April, is set to continue his experimentation after, for the first time, selecting Civil Sporting Club’s Gomezgani Chirwa, Righteous Banda and Fletcher Bandawe in the Moroccobound 18-member squad.

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Tricky Banda and towering goal-hunter Bandawe will compete for attacking positions in the team with Chirwa staking his claim in defence. TNM Super League leaders, Silver Strikers, do not have any player in the squad despite also being the only team yet to face defeat in the elite league this season.

The team leaves today for friendlies against Togo and Mauritania in Morocco set to start on September 1. Back in the squad is Nyasa Big Bullets left-back Yamikani Fodya in view of Francis Mulimbika’s injury at Be Forward Wanderers.

Bullets centre-back John Lanjesi is also out of the squad as he has just returned from injury. Moyale’s regular scorer, Khuda Muyaba, is also missing from the list.

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Another conspicuous absentee from the squad is Wanderers attacker, Yamikani Chester, who featured in all three games at the recent Cosafa Castle Cup in South Africa.

Red Lions striker, Innocent Bokosi, is also sidelined from the squad through injury whereas Bullets’ Miracle Gabeya and Mike Mkwate did not earn selection. Contrary to earlier reports, in a statement, Football Association of Malawi (Fam) on Friday stated that the Flames will play friendly games against Togo and Mauritania in Morocco.

Fam did not include Kenya, Niger and Morocco on the list of the opponents as earlier suggested. During the week, van Geneugden insisted that his revolving national team door was very much open.

“I have always said that the door is wide open for any player who is eligible to play for Malawi. When I released the first call-up, I did not say that it was a final one. So any player who impresses is welcome in my team,” the Belgian told The Daily Times.

Full squad: Goalkeepers Charles Swini (Songo), Ernest Kakhobwe (Bullets) Defenders Denis Chembezi (Premier Bet Wizards), Stanley Sanudi (Be Forward Wanderers), Peter Cholopi (Azam Tigers), Limbikani Mzava (Golden Arrows, SA), Fodya (Bullets), Chirwa (Civil) Midfielders Simeon Singa (Premier Bet Wizards), Chikoti Chirwa (Red Lions), Ng’ambi (Platinum Stars, SA) Gerald Phiri Jnr (Wits, SA), John Banda (Ferroviaro de Nampula, Mozambique), Frank Banda (Costa do Sol) Wingers & Attackers Dalitso Sailesi (Lusaka Dynamos, Zambia), Richard Mbulu (Costa dol Sol, Mozambique) Gabadinho Mhango (Wits, SA), Bandawe (Civil), Banda (Civil), Jabulani Linje (Wanderers).

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