Mponda to decide to play or not, says Kinnah

Malawi national team coach Kinnah Phiri says the question of whether captain Peter Mponda will feature in the crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tunisia on Saturday is in the hands of the player himself and the team’s medical staff.

Mponda arrived in the country on Tuesday and trained with the rest of the squad on Wednesday.

“He is here finally, he is a fighter and from the way you have seen him training this morning, it shows that he wants to play and we will continue monitoring him,” Kinnah told Nyasa Times on Wednesday at Kamuzu Stadium.

The coach says he was impressed with how Mponda trained but noted that he is still afraid to tackle since he is coming from an injury that put him out of action for months at his South African club Santos.

Mponda: I am OK. Training at Kamuzu Stadium when he joined Flames squad on Wednesday. Photo: Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

He suffered a knee injury playing for Santos in February and has not returned to competitive action.

In an interview after the training session, Mponda told reporters that he is well and will continue training hard and see how things turn out in the next two days.

“All I can say is that I am ok but will see what happens in the next two days. It’s a crucial game and any player would want to be part of it as we look forward to qualifying for Afcon again,” he said.

Flames doctors were yet to comment on Mponda’s condition and told Nyasa Times that they will soon make their position clear to the coach once they conclude their assessment.

Malawi are currently third in Group K, level with Tunisia on 10 points with just two games left for each side.

Botswana have already qualified as group winners but with five teams in the pool, the runners-up are also guaranteed a place at the finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea next year.

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