Flames coach Meck Mwase says he is worried that his charges might not be in shape ahead of African Cup of Nations Cup (Afcon) qualifiers as their training is not monitored.
The national football team coach yesterday said it is difficult to monitor the players, who were called into camp before sporting activities were suspended due to Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “Of course, as Flames technical panel we try our best to monitor some of the players, but we cannot reach out to all of them as they are spread across the country.
“Considering that we have now stayed for at least six months without being together in training, it is easy for some players to relax. There are a lot of distractions when one trains alone at home.”
However, Mwase said he is hopeful that the players will maintain their shape by the time they get back to action.
The Flames were expected to face Burkina Faso in a two-legged Group-B tie in March, but the Confederation of African Football (CAF) suspended the matches due to the outbreak.
Flames players Chimango Kayira and Alfred Manyozo Jnr, who are also Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers captains, respectively, yesterday agreed, saying it is not easy for players to follow training routines without being monitored.
Said Kayira: “It is very worrisome indeed. Players are not easy to tame as we need close monitoring. Some teams gave their players programmes on how to keep themselves in shape, but the big question is whether all of us are really sticking to them.
“I would like to take this opportunity to urge players out there to refrain from activities that will make them remain unfit. We must stay professional. We have seen some players in other leagues returning unfit after games resumed; some gained weight and lost places in their teams. That should be a lesson to us.”
On his part, Manyozo Jnr said: “It is important for us to maintain individual training and remember that football is our life. Nobody will do it for us. Remember that it is garbage in, garbage out.”
The Flames are third in their group with three points, having beaten South Sudan 1-0 through a Gabadinho Mhango strike at home.
Uganda lead the group with four points from two games. Burkina Faso also have the same points but are second due to an inferior goal difference. South Sudan anchor the group without a point.
CAF will release a new calendar for the qualifiers after evaluating the Covid-19 situation.