Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) has said the move to drop some top local-based strikers from the squad that will face Lesotho’s Likuaena in an international friendly match this Saturday, is by design.
RVG was reacting to concerns raised by some quarters on the exclusion of TNM Super League leading scorer Mathews Sibale (Silver Strikers), second leading scorer Mphatso Phillemon (Blue Eagles) and in-form veteran forward Esau Kanyenda (Be Forward Wanderers).
“For this camp, I want to assess foreign-based players that I have not seen play and also those that are not getting much game time at their respective clubs,” he said, citing Robin Ngalande, Atusaye Nyondo, Chawanangwa Kawonga and Schumacher Kuwali.
“For the next three to four days, I want to see in what shape they are and see if they can make it into the team.
“I already know the capabilities of local-based strikers who are leading scorers in the national league and I will have ample time to work with them at the end of the season from February. The same applies to Esau. He is on top of his game. He [also] has experience. So, I have not discarded them,” said RVG
He also revealed that he wanted to include Sibale for the recent international friendly against Tanzania, until he discovered that he had no travel document.
The coach said the priority is to build on the squad that played against Comoros in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opening qualifier.
“That is why 80 percent is from that squad and we have to build from there, but as I said that does not mean I have closed the door on the others,” he said.
Kanyenda yesterday said the selection of team is at the discretion of the coach, “and for now I cannot say anything.” n