Blessings Kamanga –Nyasa Times
Malawi National Football Team Coach Ernest Ntawali says he has been told to forget about an international friendly before meeting Zimbabwe’s warriors in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
The country’s football governing body, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) had secured an international friendly for the Flames against Botswana’ Zebras before meeting Warriors on 4 June.
Speaking to Nyasa Times, Mtawali said he has been informed by FAM that the friendly against Botswana won’t take place due to financial problems.
He said the team will therefore fly direct to Harare, Zimbabwe on Friday 3 June after government had earlier called off plans to let the team travel by road to Botswana before connecting to Zimbabwe.
“I can confirm to you that the team will fly direct to Zimbabwe next week on Friday for the Saturday match. We have been told that we have to prepare within the country due to financial constraints before playing Zimbabwe,” said Mtawali.
However, despite the mix-up to their preparations ahead of the match next week, the former Flames international said he believes in the squad he has assembled for next week’s game and COSAFA games later next month.
He said he and his backroom staff are working tirelessly to keep the boys in shape for the two competitions.
“We started training on Monday without Be Forward Wanderers players who only joined camp on Tuesday due to club assignments. On the same day, we released Bullets and Blue Eagles players for club duties. So you can see how affected we have been but I still believe in the squad and hope to come up with the final traveling squad on Tuesday next week,” Mtawali said.
According to reports, government turned down the proposal of letting the team travel by road to Botswana before connecting to Zimbabwe because the route is not safe following renewed conflict between ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) rebels who recently claimed the lives of four Malawians who were attacked while in transit from South Africa to Malawi via Maputo.
Sports Council Executive Secretary George Jana confirmed to the development that government has authorized the Flames to fly and have provided about K17 million kwacha.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :