The Malawi national team on Wednesday announced a 30-man provisional squad for the 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup Nations in Cameroon.
Flames head of technical panel Mario Marinica has included four Nyasa Big Bullets players in the squad, including goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe, defenders Gomezgani Chirwa and Sankhani Mkandawire, as well as the 2020-21 TNM Super League Best Midfielder and Player of the Season, Chimwemwe Idana.
The three were part of the AFCON qualification campaign and the just ended 2022 FIFA World cup qualifiers, except Mkandawire, who has been included after catching the eye of Marinica following his recent appointment as head of the Malawi technical panel.
Mkandawire’s selection has hardly come as a surprise given his strong recent form for The People’s Team in the Super League title defence and the 2021 Airtel Top 8 Cup campaign in which Bullets won their first ever cup competition in more than three years after defeating Silver Strikers on Saturday.
Marinica has also included six Bullets players out of the 13 members who are on standby, namely Clever Mkungula, Nickson Nyasulu, Blessings Mpokera, Alick Lungu, Misheck Seleman and Hassan Kajoke.
The Flames leave for Saudi Arabia on Thursday for a ten-day pre-AFCON camp in preparation for the continental competition which kicks off on 9th January.
Malawi is expected to play two friendly matches against Mali and Comoros on December 30th and January 4th, respectively. The team will also have training matches with local clubs in Saudi Arabia.
At the AFCON, the Flames will open their Group B campaign with a fixture against Guinea on 10th January, before playing Zimbabwe on 13th January and will complete the group matches on 18th January against Senegal.
Below is the full squad:
Goalkeepers: Ernest Kakhobwe (Nyasa Big Bullets), William Thole (Be Forward Wanderers), Charles Thom (Silver Strikers).
Defenders: Limbikani Mzava (Amazulu FC) Dennis Chembezi (Polokwane City) Nickson Mwase, Mark Fodya (Silver Strikers), Sankhani Mkandawire, Gomezgani Chirwa (Nyasa Big Bullets), Lawrence Chaziya (Civo Sporting), Paul Ndlovu (MAFCO), Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi (Be Forwards Wanderers).
Midfielders: John Banda (UD Songo), Charles Petro (Sheriff Tiraspol) Chimwemwe Idana (Nyasa Big Bullets) Chikoti Chirwa (Red Lions), Micium Mhone (Blue Eagles), Gerald Phiri Junior (Al Hillal).
Wingers: Robin Ngalande (St George), Yamikani Chester (Be Forward Wanderers), Schumacher Kuwali (UD Songo), Francisco Madinga (FC Dilla Gori), Peter Banda (Simba Sporting Club), Zebron Kalima (Silver Strikers).
Strikers: Richard Mbulu (Baroka FC), Khuda Muyaba (Polokwane City), Henry Kumwenda (Butler Bulldogs) Gabadinho Mhango (Orlando Pirates), Stain Davie (Silver Strikers).
Players on Standby:Richard Chipuwa, Clever Mkungula, Nickson Nyasulu, Blessings Mpokera, Alick Lungu, Norchard Chimbalanga, Blessings Tembo, Tawonga Chimodzi, Loyd Njaliwa, Misheck Seleman, Mike Mkwate, Hassan Kajoke and Vincent Nyangulu.