FAM has turned down Flames caretaker coach Eddington Ng’onamo’s proposal to play two international friendly matches to tune up for the forthcoming 2014 World Cup home qualifiers against Namibia’s Brave Warriors and Kenya’s Harambee Stars in June.
Ng’onamo had proposed two strength-testing matches against Zambia’s Chipolopolo and Zimbabwe’s Warriors.
But Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda on Monday said the Flames will only be able to play one build-up match as there are no Fifa calendar dates between now and the next World Cup qualifiers.
“There is no Fifa calendar date between now and the time we play the World Cup qualifiers and, therefore, it will not be possible to arrange two international friendly matches.
“To that effect, we are targeting just one friendly match towards the end of May and we are currently talking to a number of countries from within the Sadc region such as Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” said Nyirenda.
The development is in sharp contrast to the assurance given by FAM president Walter Nyamilandu when he unveiled the caretaker coaching panel that it would be unfortunate if their programmes will not be supported.
“It will be a big mistake if they will not be exposed to friendly games,” said Nyamilandu.
Apparently, Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chihana recently said he had approved the coach’s proposal to play two international friendly matches.
However, Nyamilandu on Monday defended FAM’s move, saying: “The minister can make one statement, but implementing is another thing. The minister said it out of goodwill and we need to make use of his pledge.
“Only when the money is at the table can we be sure of arranging two friendly matches, but we are trying to work on a friendly match in May.”
Reacting to the development, Ng’onamo said they can still do with one friendly match.
“Of course, initially the suggestion was to play two international friendly matches, but I think one game will be okay as long as we play the game at home since both our next World Cup qualifiers will be played here,” said Ng’onamo.
The Flames will face Namibia on June 5 before taking on Kenya a week later.