Azam Tigers FC are fuming with rage after Football Association Malawi (FAM) rebuffed their request to release three key players from Under-20 squad travelling to Zambia for the Africa Youth Championship return leg.
Tigers have contributed two defenders Boston Kabango, Stanley Sanudi and striker Isaac Kaliati to the team as they gear up for the Standard Bank Cup final at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe against Silver Strikers on Saturday.
Tigers technical director Robin Alufandika said FAM should have released the players because it was an important game for them.
Alufandika said FAM should have alternatively rescheduled the match.
“It’s sad that we will be forced to play a cup final without our key players because FAM has overlooked the importance of having all of our best players for the game, “he said.
But the outspoken technical director said they would face Silver with the available players in the spirit of fairplay and sportsmanship.
Fam General Secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said the association turned down Tigers request because the rule requires a team to contribute over four players to the national team.
“Of course we understand the importance of a team to have their best players available for a cup final. But there are situations like these that can make it difficult,” Nyirenda said.
“Suppose the players were injured would they have requested for postponement of the game?”
He said the U-20 game was important because there was a lot at stake.
“Malawi has a chance of qualifying for the finals should we beat Zambia by 2 goals to 0. We are capable of doing it,” he said.
He also said the sponsors had already put in logistics to have the game played on Saturday.
Under-20 coach Ernest Mtawali said he would not have risked to drop the three Tigers players for such an important game.
“There’s no way I could have accepted to leave behind these players with the prospects of qualifying for the finals in Senegal very high,” Mtawali said.
Malawi lost to Zambia 2-1 on August 16 in the first leg match and would progress should they win by a 2-0 margin in Ndola.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :