Rejuvenated Malawi National Football Team striker Robin Ngalande will not be part of the Flames’ 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers due to a foot injury he sustained on Monday.
Ngalande returned to Malawi’s starting line-up in the 1-0 win over Uganda that saw the Flames qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The former Atletico Madrid and Mamelodi Sundowns youth player, who plies his trade with Ethiopian outfit St George, sustained a fracture on his left foot as he tried to make a back pass under the challenge of a Ugandan player.
Flames team manager Clement Kafwafwa said preliminary tests indicate that the player will be sidelined for at least 10 months
We will keep him at Golden Peacock Hotel for at least a week. We want medical experts to fully access him. But the fact remains that the player will be out of action for the next eight to 10 months.
“This is a huge setback. We are building a youthful team that is jelling very well and it is sad that he has picked the injury when we needed him most. But we wish him all the best. We remain positive because we know that his injury is curable. He will recover fully and play football again,” Kafwafwa said.
Coach Meke Mwase said Ngalande deserves commendation for contributing to Malawi’s victory.
“Ngalande’s injury is disturbing to our plans. However, this is the right time for other players to show character and charisma. It is pleasing that the team continued to play well after Robin picked the injury.
“This proved that they really wanted to serve their country. This is the spirit we want from all our players. Robin is an important player to the team and we will miss his contributions. He is skilled and talented. We wish him all the best as he recuperates,” Mwase said.
Speaking before Wednesday morning’s scan, Ngalande expressed optimism that he will return to the pitch soon.
“I had a bright start to the game on my Flames return on Monday. My movements in that game coordinated well with my fellow forwards Richard Mbulu and Khuda Muyaba. I also linked up well with our right back Stanley Sanudi. I really enjoyed the experience,” he said.
Malawi will be making their third appearance at the continental showpiece after qualifying in 1984 and 2010.
The Flames finished second in the qualifiers with 10 points while Burkina Faso won the group with 12 points.
Malawi’s World Cup opponents are Cameroon, Mozambique and Ivory Coast.
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.