Flames camping dates in China may shift – Vuwa

Minister of sports and youth development,  Vuwa Kaunda, says his ministry could consider to shift the dates for the Malawi national football team, the Flames,  camping in China in preparation for 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup qualifiers .

Initially, the Flames were expected to be in China either in April or May but  an appeal from international striker Esau Kanyenda a to have the training earlier than that has caught the attention of government.

The minister speaking during Zodiak Broadcasting Station sports programme said there could be changes to the programme.

Vuwa (r) with FAM president Nyamilandu carrying Flames replica jersey

Apart from training, the Flames will also use the oversees training to play a strength-testing matches against the Chinese national side  which is ranked 71st in the world and have been to the World Cup at least once in 2002 .

“As government we were very concerned with the way Malawi was axed from the Africa Cup of Nations competition, if you might remember that exit broke the hearts of every Malawian, because all of us expected that we would be through,” Vuwa Kaunda said.

“Following that, different people had given us different suggestions on what could be the way forward, some had even went as far as saying that we should sack the coach, so as government we decided to invest into the team.

“So this time around we approached the Chinese ambassador if our team could find a chance to camp in China so that it can play with  China national team and other nations there between April and May,” said Vuwa.

When asked to comment about the minister’s decision to have the camp in the period between April and May, Flames hitman Esau Kanyenda, who was a guest in the programme, said that he appreciated the minister’s decision and asked if the date could be shifted so that it could help in preparing for the Chad game.

“Having a camp in China I think that’s a welcome development and we thank government for being our sponsors, but the period of April –May that means will have already played the Chad game. I think if we can have the camp before the Chad game it would be vital since most of our provisional players ply their trade in South Africa and there on season break in South Africa. That would help them being active,” said Kanyenda.

When asked by the radio host Mike Bango about Kanyenda’s suggestions, the minister said that his ministry is open to take his opinion and added that it could open talks with the Chinese government if they could shift the date to accommodate the Chad game preparations.

“Yeah that’s a good idea, but as government we would sit down with the Chinese government to see if it could be possible to have that camp early so that we can accommodate the Chad game.

“ As we said, it was just a proposal so anything can happen, because our plan was that when we sent the team to the CECAFA tournament to Tanzania it was part of the preparations for the Chad game,” he concluded.

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Pan Hejun said his country will host the Flames as part of an exchange programme the two countries signed in 2010.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said Malawi “will certainly benefit in terms of exposure”  especially for the domestic players .

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