Wonderkid Gabadinho Mhango might be thrown into service against Kenya’s Harambee Stars which will be a swim-or-sink encounter for the Flames in their quest to keep their 2014 World Cup qualification hopes on the boil.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda and Flames caretaker coach Eddington Ng’onamo on Thursday said they were scheduled to meet Gabadinho last evening to see if he can be considered for the Wednesday game at Kamuzu Stadium.
The development follows the Flames’ lack of fire-power as witnessed in last Wednesday’s encounter against Namibia’s Brave Warriors in which they crafted a plethora of chances, but sadly, failed to make them count.
It is also in contrast to what Ng’onamo told the media ahead of the Namibia game that the player would not be considered for both games so that he should concentrate on his Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examinations.
However, Nyirenda on Thursday said Gabadinho might be available for selection because he will be free on the day of the game.
“According to the time table, he will sit his last paper on June 11 which will be a day before the match.
“So, we have left it in the hands of the coaching panel to discuss and come up with a decision and thereafter, they can consult the player to see if he can make it,” said Nyirenda.
However, Nyirenda brushed aside suggestions that the diminutive genius is being considered for the Kenya showdown due to public demand.
“The game against Kenya could determine our date with destiny and, having noted that our weakest link in the game against Namibia was finishing, we are weighing several options, including his inclusion,” said Nyirenda.
Gabadinho could not be reached for comment on Thursday as he was sitting an exam, but his club Big Bullets’ spokesperson Higger Mkandawire said the player is willing to play.
“I was with him yesterday [Wednesday] and, according to him, he is ready to play.
“He said if the coaches are ready to accommodate him, then he can undergo intensive training at the weekend.
“However, having said that, let me also express our concern to FAM that since the boy started taking exams, they have not bothered to find out how he is doing as a way of motivating him and yet he is a national asset,” said Mkandawire.
Ng’onamo also confirmed the coaching panel’s change of heart on the player.
“We are meeting him this evening [Thursday] and depending on the outcome, he might be considered for selection.
“But let me also stress here that the development does not mean we have no confidence in the strikers that we have. We are just looking at ways of how we can strengthen the attack,” said Ng’onamo.
Soon after the Namibia game, fans led the clamour for the recall of Gabadinho, chanting: “A Maneb zikutipweteka!”
FAM has said Angola-based sweeper James Sangala, who was held up in the former Portuguese colony due to visa complications, is set to arrive in the country today (Friday) ahead of the Kenya game.
Meanwhile, the Flames have maintained position 109 on latest Fifa Coca Cola World rankings released on Thursday. The rankings did not include the Namibia game.