By Happy Valirani – AfricaBrief
The Malawi national football team, commonly known as the Flames, embarked on a crucial journey to Maputo, Mozambique, on Monday, June 12th, 2023, for an upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier match against Ethiopia scheduled for June 20th, 2023.
During a press briefing held at Mpira House in Chiwembe, Blantyre, the Flames’ interim coach, Patrick Mabedi, revealed the squad selection for the crucial encounter.
Prior to their clash with Ethiopia, the Flames will engage in a friendly match against Mozambique on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023.
The 24-member squad announced by Coach Mabedi showcases several new faces, including goalkeeper Innocent Nyasulu from Mighty Tigers, Robert Saizi and Chikumbutso Salima from Bangwe All Stars, Chifundo Mphasi from a Zambian club, and Lloyd Aaron from Civil Service United.
Notably, Coach Mabedi has omitted regular players such as Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Muyaba, Gerald Phiri Jr., Charles Thom, and Chiukepo Msowoya from the lineup, aiming to groom young talents for the future.
“As a technical team, we are looking forward to the long-term development of the team. We understand the importance of planning for the future,” explained Coach Mabedi.
“We are striving to strike a balance between experienced players who can guide the young stars and providing exposure to our emerging talents.”
Regarding the team’s preparations, Mabedi expressed satisfaction with the three weeks of training camp at Chiwembe.
“Our preparations have gone well thus far, and now we are eager to see how the players will respond to the first task, which is the friendly game against Mozambique on June 14th. This will set the tone as we prepare to face Ethiopia next week,” added Mabedi.
In Group D, the Flames currently anchor the table with three points. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Guinea are the other teams in the group. Egypt holds the top position with nine points, followed closely by Guinea, also with nine points.
The squad, carefully selected by Coach Mabedi, comprises goalkeepers Brighton Munthali and Innocent Nyasulu; defenders Alick Lungu, Daniel Chimbalanga, Blessings Mpokera, Denis Chembezi, Lawrence Chaziya, Nickson Mwase, and Stanley Sanudi; midfielders Chikoti Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana, John Banda, Lloyd Njaliwa, Lloyd Aaron, Patrick Macheso, Chikumbutso Salima, Lanjesi Nkhoma, Peter Banda, Robert Saizi, and Yamikani Chester; and strikers Chawanangwa Kaonga, Chifundo Mphasi, Gaddie Chirwa, and Richard Mbulu.
The Flames depart with hopes of securing crucial victories in the AFCON qualifiers, aiming to advance to the prestigious tournament and bring pride to the nation.