Setbacks have started emerging in Flames’ preparations for Sunday’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final preliminary round first leg against the Squirrels of Benin.
South African club Bloemfontein Celtic is refusing to release striker Gabadinho Mhango and defender Limbikani Mzava for the encounter, arguing that it does not fall on Fifa calendar.
Apart from the two, defender Harry Nyirenda has been ruled out of today’s international friendly match against Uganda’s Cranes while the availability of striker Atusaye Nyondo is also in doubt.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda yesterday said they have since lodged a complaint to Fifa against Celtic’s conduct.
“Gaba and Limbikani were supposed to fly out this morning at 10am, but when I got in touch with them they informed me that they had been instructed not to proceed with the trip and, instead report at their club’s offices.
“Apparently, we hear the club’s CEO Khumbulani Konco has refused to release the players, including those from Botswana, but our argument is that these dates were fixed by CAF, which is an affiliate of Fifa,” said Nyirenda.
He said as of yesterday morning, they had sought the intervention of former Flames captain John Maduka who is Celtic team manager.
“Maduka has assured us that he will engage Konco on the issue, but the problem now is that even if they are released, they could miss Uganda’s match which will have a negative effect on our preparations,” he said.
The FAM CEO said Harry Nyirenda will miss today’s game because he travelled with his team to another province for pre-season friendlies while Atusaye is processing a work permit renewal which could also delay his trip.
Another South Africa-based forward Robin Ngalande and two Mozambique-based players Chimango Kayira and Chiukepo Msowoya were expected to arrive in Kampala yesterday.
Coach Young Chimodzi said he would have loved to have all his arsenal for today’s game against Uganda.