FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda says Bloemfontein Celtic coach Ernest Middendorp values a lot Limbikani Mzava and Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango.
Nyirenda said this on his return from South Africa when he was asked about the German coach’s earlier reluctance to release the duo for the Flames’ game against Benin this Saturday and the first leg two weeks ago when Malawi lost 1-0.
“The trip was a success as the coach earlier refused to meet FAM. One of the reasons is that there is new management and everyone has to impress. They depend on the two players. In fact, they have given Gaba number 10 jersey from number 42. Moving around the area, talk was about Gaba, Gaba,” he explained.
Speaking before Nyirenda secured the Celtic duo’s release, Mhango admitted that it hurts that the Flames stuttered 1-0 in Benin in the first leg. With recalled striker Chiukepo Msowoya alone upfront, the Flames missed scoring opportunities.
“It hurts. In fact, I could not believe that we lost as our aim is to reach the group stages. I am not saying they lost due to my absence, but we work as a team and we believe in each other. When other players are unavailable, the team suffers,” he explained last Tuesday.
Coach Young Chimodzi also admitted that he missed Mhango’s eye for a goal. He has three goals in 11 outings. University of Pretoria striker Atusaye Nyondo also missed the first leg as his passport is with South Africa Home Affairs Department which is processing his work permit.
Robert Ng’ambi is also back from injury, but it remains to be seen if Platinum Stars release release the attacking midfielder who has missed all the recent qualifying matches.