South Africa-based Flames wonderkid Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango and defender Limbikani Mzava have dismissed fears that fatigue might affect their performance against Benin at Kamuzu Stadium tomorrow where they are expected to arrive late for the game.
The Bloemfontein Celtic duo is scheduled to fly in at 12.25pm on Saturday from Johannesburg, about two hours before the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final preliminary round decisive qualifier against the Squirrels.
In an interview from the Rainbow Nation on Thursday, Gabadinho said they have been in such situations before, and it should, therefore, be no cause for worry.
“It is not something new, when I was playing for Big Bullets, we would travel to either Lilongwe or Mzuzu by road on the eve of the game and then play two games back-to-back without any problems. In fact, I think we are in a slightly better situation this time because we are flying,” said Gabadinho.
On his part Mzava said: “Such situations will always occur once in a while, but it doesn’t worry me. I am ready to play for my club tomorrow and then fly home to serve my country the following day, no fuss.”
Flames coach Young Chimodzi has said he will have to be cautious on the use of the two players.
He said he is aware that it will be a challenge for the duo to play a competitive game for their club in Johannesburg on Friday night and then fly out the following morning to Blantyre for the match.
“From the airport, they will drive straight to the stadium. It certainly is a crammed schedule for them,” said Chimodzi.
He added: “We are currently planning on how best to use them so that they can perform.”
However, the Flames mentor said the solace is that it is not the first time a player has flown from another country on the actual day of the game.
“Ernest (Mtawali) did it sometime back and several others have done it, but the crucial part will be how we use them,” said Chimodzi.
Mtawali, stunned a packed Kamuzu Stadium in April 1997 with a five-star display in a 1998 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Mambas of Mozambique and inspired the Flames to a 2-0 win after flying in just over an hour before the game, also from South Africa.
“These chaps have big hearts and they are capable of doing more than I did,” said Mtawali about Gaba and Mzava.
“You may recall that I had not played for the national team for sometime having been dropped in very controversial circumstances from the national team just two days before we played South Africa in Johannesburg,” he said.