The Flames have been dealt a blow after inspirational midfielder Robert Ng’ambi suffered an ankle injury while on duty for his South African club Platinum Stars against Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday. He has been ruled out of tomorrow’s 2018 Fifa World Cup preliminary qualifier against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars.
Ng’ambi, who was reduced to a sideshow in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland’s Sihlangu Semnikati in August, confirmed the predicament in an interview from South Africa on Monday.
“I went to the hospital for a scan, but I have been advised to go there again tomorrow [today] because they cannot do it in its swollen state, but in any case, I will not be fit for Wednesday’s match.
“Most probably I could make it for the return leg on Sunday, we will see how it goes,” said Ng’ambi who was the most experienced player in the squad that was named by coach Ernest Mtawali for the Taifa Stars match.
He added: “What happened was that I forced myself to continue playing after absorbing a ruthless hard tackle on my right ankle from an opponent and after the match it got swollen and I endured a lot of pain.”
Mtawali was not readily available for comment on Monday, but team manager Clement Kafwafwa confirmed that Ng’ambi is doubtful for the match.
Ng’ambi’s Platinum lost 0-3 to Chiefs in a Telkom Knockout match.
The midfielder was tipped to partner Gerald Phiri Jnr and Chimango Kayira in central midfield with Micium Mhone and John Banda orchestrating play up and down the flanks. The development leaves Mtawali and his assistant Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan with an option to fill his place with Robin Ngalande.
Kafwafwa also said save for Ng’ambi, the other five South Africa-based players namely captain Limbikani Mzava, Ngalande, Phiri Jnr and Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango joined the squad on Monday.
“I went to pick them up from airport and we are on our way to the training ground for the afternoon session,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malawians will be able to get the glimpse of the action in Tanzania tomorrow as SuperSport has announced that it will beam the match live on channel 207 from 2.45pm. MultiChoice Malawi marketing manager Chiwemwe Nyirenda confirmed the development..
The match will kickoff at 3pm local time. The Flames are ranked 101 on Fifa/Coca Cola world rankings while Taifa Stars are 35 steps below.