Malawi national team Coach Ernest Mtawali says he is not concerned and moved by his critics on the omission of veteran midfielders Robert Baggio Ng’ambi and Chimango Kaira in his provisional squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Zimbabwe and COSAFA cup games scheduled for Namibia later in June.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after leading the team’s training session at Sure Stream Stadium on Monday, the former Flames international said his focus is on turning the corner on Saturday against the Warriors of Zimbabwe in the AFCON qualifiers.
He said just like ‘Monday Coaches’ do, everyone is entitled to his own opinion and that he believes in his own football philosophy.
“I know several people are not happy with Baggio and Kaira’s omission in my provisional squad. But I purely did that on footballing reasons just like the way I did with Joseph Kamwendo and others. Let them talk because this is not the first time but I believe in the squad I have assembled. Our focus is getting the team back to winning ways and I know we can do it,” said Mtawali.
Speaking on the team’s preparations, Mtawali said he is happy with the shape which his players are in. He said he has no injury concerns except for midfielder Isaac Kaliati who sat out Monday’s training session on precautionary measures.
“The lads are training so hard and recently we played a friendly with Azam Tigers to check on formations. I am really happy with the progress especially with the work every player is putting in. I know it will not be easy for me and my backroom staff to select the final travelling squad because every player deserves a position. That tells you how competitive each player is.
“Today we had Kaliati watching the proceedings from the terraces as he is carrying a few knocks. But we got recommendations from our team doctor that it’s not as serious as expected hence the decision to let him sit out of Monday’s training session as a precaution. He is one of our key players and I know he will overcome the nocks,” Mtawali said.
Meanwhile, midfield maestro Joseph Kamwendo has joined the training camp from Mozambique where he is plying his trade.
The Flames are expected to fly direct to Zimbabwe this coming Friday for Saturday’s AFCON tie against the warriors.
The team will come back a day later and will immediately regroup for COSAFA tournament scheduled for Windhoek, Namibia between 11-25 June where they are in group B alongside Angola, Lesotho and Mauritius.
The team was expected to play a friendly against Botswana before Saturday’s encounter with Zimbabwe but the country’s football governing body, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) said they do not have money for the friendly.
Initially, FAM had already exhausted its funding from government for the Flames for 2015/16 season believed to be K100 million forcing government to release extra K17 million kwacha to enable the team travel to Zimbabwe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :