By Joseph Dumbula
There are concern in the Malawi national football team camp as six players and three technical members have tested positive for Covid19 and will not be available as the Flames open the Afcon campaign against Guinea tomorrow.
According to the Football Association of Malawi, the players are defenders Peter Cholopi, Lawrence Chaziya, Stanley Sanudi; midfielders Chikoti Chirwa and Robin Ngalande and striker Gabadinho Mhango.
The officials are Head of Technical Panel Mario Marinica, Goalkeeper Trainer Swadick Sanudi and Physiotherapist Chikondi Mandalasi.
Head of delegation Tiya Somba Banda said: “It’s a difficult situation that we will not have the players and some of the technical staff for the opening match.
Our medical team is managing the situation to ensure that the players and the officials recover as soon as possible.
“However, the good news is that Richard Mbulu will join us on Sunday and will be available for selection and the technical panel has already put a plan accordingly for the Guinea match.
“The Flames will have another test on Wednesday January 12, 2022 and we hope by then the nine would have recovered and cleared for the next match against Zimbabwe.”
Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia Mark Fodya has tested negative for COVID-19 while Charles Petro is still positive.
Fodya is expected to leave Saudi Arabia on Sunday evening and join the team in Cameroon on Monday afternoon.
Petro will remain in isolation in Jeddah and have another test on Monday.
The side will open the Afcon campaign against Guinea this Monday before playing Zimbabwe and Senegal to warp up group stages.
Malawi has, in its football history, only been to the AFCON finals in 1984 and 2010 and on both occasions, failed to progress to the next round from the group stages.
During the 2010 AFCON finals, Malawi beat Algeria 3-0 in an opening match before losing 2-0 to the hosts Angola and 3-1 to Mali.
On their debut at the 1984 AFCON finals held in Cote d’Ivoire, Malawi drew 2-2 with Nigeria then lost 3-0 to Algeria and 1-0 to Ghana.