Almost all the South Africa-based Flames players have returned to their respective bases for pre-season, a development that rules them out of the July 6 international friendly match against Mozambique.
The match will be part of the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
Bloemfontein Celtic duo Limbikani Mzava and Gabadinho Mhango left almost two weeks ago, Platinum Stars’ Robert Ng’ambi left on Monday while Atusaye Nyondo, who was on loan at University of Pretoria and Bidvest Wits’ Robin Ngalande, left last week.
Mzava confirmed in a telephone interview that they were already at their base in readiness for pre-season training which starts tomorrow [Thursday].
As of yesterday, only Harry Nyirenda, who turns out for First Division side Black Leopards, was still in the country, but the team’s locally-based director Kondi Msungama said he would depart any day from now as his team’s pre-season starts next Monday.
Veteran forward Esau Kanyenda, who was the coaches’ priority for assessment in the Mozambique game, did not come for off-season holiday, but Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said they have since sought his release from his club Polokwane City.
“That is why we have not yet released the call up because we are waiting for a response from Kanyenda’s team as well as permission from other foreign teams to feature players who are still in the country,” said Nyirenda.
He said the squad is most likely to be released this morning.
The other foreign-based player who is in the country on holiday is seasoned midfielder Joseph Kamwendo who plays for former African club champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo.
However, Kanyenda expressed doubts as to whether his club will release him as they only regrouped for pre-season training on Monday.
“Otherwise, I am willing to come,” said Kanyenda.
Two other defenders Sankhani Mkandawire and Under-20 international Miracle Gabeya, who were among those being considered for the Mozambique friendly are most likely to miss it. Gabeya is already in South Africa for trials at Celtic whereas Mkandawire is scheduled to depart this weekend for Polokwane also in South Africa for trials with Leopards.