Santos are being forced to release Malawi captain Peter Mponda who has been called up to play for Malawi even though he is continuing his rehabilitation after a long term knee injury.
Malawi have called up the utility player for their vital African Nations Cup qualifier against Chad in Ndjamena although Mponda has not played since a serious injury suffered in February.
The Flames will qualify for a second successive Nations Cup finals appearance if they win the game and coach Kinnah Phiri said Mponda would have a role to play.
But his Cape Town club say they hope that the player will use common sense and not participate in the Group K tie.
Mponda was in Blantyre three weeks ago for their last qualifier against Tunisia and although he trained, he did not participate in any group work nor did he play in the game.
Santos said they had allowed him to go because Malawi officials had wanted Mponda to be part of the squad because of his leadership skills and the positive influence he had on his teammates.
“As far as we are concerned he is going with them to do the same as he did last time, but he hasn’t played at all for us and is still in the rehab phase of working his way back from injury,” Santos chief operations office Edries Burton said.
“We are obliged to release him and we have to rely on him being sensible and not playing in any contact situation. What is in our favour is the fact he’s seen no action, in any game at all since the injury.”
Mponda suffered serious knee ligament damage in the ABSA Premiership match against Maritzburg United in February and he and his club were initially told by medical experts that he could not expect to play for the rest of 2011.
But now he is expected to return in several weeks. Mponda suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament as well as damage to his posterior cruciate ligament.