By Williams Gondwa:
Malawi national football team players who ply their trade in South Africa have returned to their respective clubs for pre-season training.
The players were in the country for a breather and will be looking forward to improved performances in the new season which kicks off in August.
Defender Limbikani Mzava, midfielder Robert Ng’ambi, left winger Gerard Phiri Jnr and striker Gabadinho Mhango were in the country for the off-season break after winding up the 2018-19 season last month.
Mzava has parted ways with his South African Premier Soccer League side, Golden Arrows, following the expiry of his contract and said he was working on finding a club.
Despite being sidelined from national team duties from late last year, the former defunct Escom United and Bloemfontein Celtic defender was the only Malawian who enjoyed regular game time in the 2018/19 season.
Mzava said he had parted ways with Arrows following the expiry of his contract and said he would reveal his next destination this monthend.
“I am back in South Africa now, but it would not be necessary to disclose my next destination. I am finalising discussions with my next team and, as soon as everything is in place, I will come out in the open,” Mzava said.
Despite being sidelined from national team duties, the former defunct Escom United and Bloemfontein Celtic defender was the only Malawian who enjoyed game time in the just ended season.
Ng’ambi has returned to Limpopo to play for Black Leopards after rejoining the club in January.
The battle-hardened linkman, who failed to complete trials in Cyprus last year due to an injury, has been out of the Flames squad for the past two years.
But Ng’ambi said he remains confident that he would have a great season as he looks set to rekindle ties with fellow Malawian Patrick Mabedi, who has joined as an assistant coach.
Phiri Jnr will start a new lease of life at Baroka FC after dumping National First Division side, Ajax Cape Town.
The 2019 Cosafa Cup Player-of-the-Tournament did not enjoy game-time last season and was released by Bidvest Wits to join Ajax.
At Baroka, Phiri Jnr will join compatriot Richard Mbulu, who also penned a three-year deal with the club last month.
Gabadinho has returned to Bidvest Wits after being linked with a move to giants Kaizer Chiefs.
The former Bullets hit man scored just one goal for Wits last season as he was reduced to the bench but, if his performance at the 2019 Cosafa Cup is anything to go by, the Malawian could have a great season.
Former Flames defender, Clement Kafwafwa, said the players need to work hard if they are to impress at their respective clubs.
“These are some of our best players. Pre-season is very important for every player as they try to convince coaches that they deserve places in starting line-ups.
“There is need for all the players to work hard. Mzava was the only player who had game-time and this affected the performance of our national team. But I am sure that they would be playing for their clubs, come the new season,” Kafwafwa said.
The number of Malawians plying their trade in South Africa could rise following Free State Stars’ recent invitation of Be Forward Wanderers duo of Peter Cholopi and Lucky Malata for trials.