Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has called five players on reserve list to join the team in Cameroon for the Total Energies AFCON 2022.
This is in a bid to create a buffer in the wake of six players who were ineligible to play the opening match for the Flames against Guinea at the Afcon Cameroon.
In a statement FAM released on Monday said the players, Brighton Munthali, Paul Ndlobvu, Dan Chimbalanga, Gerald Phiri and Stain Dave are expected to arrive in Cameroon on Tuesday.
Reads a statement: “FAM has recalled the players as a measure to boost the Flames squad which has been hit by Covid-19 as six players tested positive in Cameroon while two others were delayed in Saudi Arabia as a result of being in isolation. The recall of the five players comes after CAF clarified on Sunday that participating teams will be allowed to use 28 players for matches at the tournament. The official number of players to be registered for the competition is 23 but CAF allowed participating teams to register five more players at their own cost.
“Initially CAF had indicated that only 23 players in the final squad will be eligible to take part in the competition while the other extra five, that were registered at the discretion of participating teams, will be on reserve and would only be replaced in case of serious injury.
CAF specified that the injury had to be certified through MRI Scan by the CAF Medical Committee and Covid-19 was not regarded as a serious injury.”
FAM said this is the reason other countries like Zimbabwe and Ethiopia went to Cameroon with squads of 23 players.
“With increased cases of Covid-19 being experienced at the Total Energies Afcon 2021 in Cameroon, the rule has been relaxed to ensure all 28 are available for selection; hence, the decision to beef the Flames squad with the reserve players.”
Players Peter Cholopi, Lawrence Chaziya, Stanley Sanudi; midfielders Chikoti Chirwa and Robin Ngalande and striker Gabadinho Mhango tested positive for Covid-19 while officials, head of technical panel Mario Marinica, goalkeeper trainer Swadick Sanudi and physiotherapist Chikondi Mandalasi also tested positive for Covid-19.