Malawi national football team Coach, Ronny van Geneugden, has dropped six players from the final squad bound for the Cosafa Castle Cup, which kicks off this Sunday in South Africa.
The Belgian has released defender Miracle Gabeya, midfielder Mike Mkwate (Nyasa Big Bullets), strikers Luke Chima (Tigers) and Mphatso Phillimon of Blue Eagles.
Namibia-based defender George Nyirenda and Civil Sporting Club’s Raphael Phiri, who were called for training this week, have also been dropped.
Apparently, the squad is not different from the one that was leaked on social media this week, despite Football Association of Malawi insisting that it would be different.
The Flames Team Manager, James Sangala, said selection was based on performance during camp training.
“Those that have been released are equally good players. It is just that they were not in the coach’s plan for the tournament. Only 20 players were needed for the competition. However, we are confident that the squad will deliver,” Sangala said.
The coach has picked all Be Forward Wanderers’ eight players he called up for training.
Four foreign-based players have made the final list, while Bullets have contributed three players. Two are from Silver Strikers while Civil and TN Stars are represented by one each.
Football analyst Higger Mkandawire has faulted the selection criteria, saying deserving players have been excluded from the list.
“We need to look at the players’ performance at their clubs and give them a chance at the national level. Some of the players, who have been taken on board, are underperforming at their clubs.
“We know that the team’s problem is failing to score and poor defending. Therefore, it does not make sense leaving out players like Raphael Phiri, Bright Munthali and others who are in top form. However, let us support the team so that it can do better at the competition,” Mkandawire said.
Malawi are in group B alongside Mauritius, Botswana and Angola. The Flames’ first game is against Mauritius on Monday.
The Flames leave for South Africa this morning, hoping to improve on their performance of last season when they bowed out in the preliminary round after failing to score in three games.
Goalkeepers: Richard Chipuwa (BeForward Wanderers), Brighton Munthali (Silver Strikers)
Defenders: Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi, Dennis Chambezi, Precious Sambani (Wanderers), John Lanjesi (Nyasa Big Bullets), Ian Chinyama (TN Stars) and Gomezgani Chirwa (Civil Sporting Club).
Midfielders: Rafick Namwera, Alfred Manyozo Junior, Felix Zulu (Wanderers), Dalitso Sailesi (Lusaka Dynamos, Zambia), Robin Ngalande (Baroka FC, SA), Levison Maganizo (Silver Strikers), John Banda, (Ferroviaro de Nampula, Mozambique).
Strikers: Chiukepo Msowoya (Bullets), Richard Mbulu (Associacao Desportiva Saojoanense, Portugal), Gastin Simkonda (Moyale Barracks), Patrick Phiri (Bullets).
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