South African Club summons Flames defender


Malawi national football team defender, Harry Nyirenda, has been summoned back to Black Leopards FC after the South African First Division side realised that it released him prematurely for the Flames’ assignments.

It has, however, emerged that the former Be Forward Wanderers defender has fallen out with Leopards over his soon-to-expire contract. He is Leopards skipper.

Leopards publicist, Barry Rumenyiwa, confirmed Monday that Harry reported for the Flames camp training in Blantyre with the Limpopo club’s blessings a fortnight ago, only to learn that the Flames game in Guinea is on March 25.


“What we didn’t realise was that the game was some three weeks away. There have been efforts to recall him. The team manager is doing that, but there is no bad blood between us and Nyirenda,” Rumenyiwa claimed in a telephone interview.

He could not explain how Leopards were not aware of the actual Fifa-sanctioned dates for international games, which mandate clubs to release players for national team assignments.

The former Wanderers captain reported for camp while Leopards are still battling for promotion from the National First Division. Clubs are mandated to release players for national teams in the last week before a game.


Last week, Harry insisted that he asked for an early release because there are private issues between him and Leopards. He, eventually, claimed that he was released because he was working his back to fitness after an injury.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, on Monday confirmed receiving a letter from Leopards team manager, Bobby Mongezi, called for Harry’s immediate return.

“The reasons that are contained in the letter are that Black Leopards is facing a lot of injuries and suspensions, and this is likely going to affect their campaign to qualify for the promotional play-offs,” Suzgo Nyirenda explained.

“Harry was released by the club after we had discovered that he was not being used by the club due to some contractual stand-off. We requested their coach to consider releasing Harry in good time for assessment here by the technical panel.”

The defender, whose last national team appearance was on June 13, 2015 during a 2-1 home loss to Zimbabwe, has not played under Flames current coach Ernest Mtawali.

“The Malawi national team technical panel saw some deficiency in the central part of the defence, more especially when the team participated in the Cecafa tournament, and they requested for another experienced centre-back, hence the return of Harry Nyirenda. When we approached Black Leopards, their coach accepted to release him,” Suzgo Nyirenda added.

Fam expects the defender back in the Flames camp a week before the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier in Conakry on March 25 followed by a reserve game four days later at Kamuzu Stadium.

Harry Nyirenda is a talented ball-playing defender adept at starting play from the ball, he has organisational skills and awareness of space. However, his small frame is the only setback. A few years ago, Harry was on the ladder of South African clubs such as Free State Stars.

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