Mabedi names final squad for 4 nations tourney

Malawi Flames’ coach, Patrick Mabedi has named his final 32-member squad ahead of the 4-Nations tournament involving Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

 Mabedi has named two England-based players Jubril Okedina, who plays for third-tier League one outfit Cambridge United and  Takondwa Maosa of regional league side Brentwood Town FC.

He has also called striker Henri Kumwenda of Butler University in the US.

Addressing a press conference yesterday at Mpira Village in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre, Mabedi said he had earmarked more players from Europe, “unfortunately they couldn’t be released by their clubs.”

“There were two to three players we wanted to invite, including [Scotland-based] Kieran Ngwenya and  Shaquille Gwengwe. As for Kieran, we learnt that he has just recovered from an injury, but I assured him that he will be considered in the future,” said the Flames gaffer.

“I am a coach who does his research, I also follow outside football and I am resourceful.

“I have been hearing about these players for some time and I thought the upcoming tournament would be a proper platform to assess them because I cannot throw them in competitions such as World Cup and Afcon qualifiers.

“So, this tournament provides us an opportunity to see if they can match what we want.”

On 23-year-old Okedina, Mabedi said:  “Since we sometimes have a problem with centre-backs, we thought it is important to take a look at him.

“He also has a good height and with good coaching in Europe, we thought maybe he can help us.”

On Maosa, the coach said “[Similarly], since we are having problems with attacking midfielders, we thought we could also assess him and see if he is better than what we have.”

The former Flames skipper said the same applies to Kumwenda because the Flames struggle to score goals and he could be the solution.

Apart from the trio, Mabedi has named eight other foreign-based players, namely goalkeeper Brightone Munthali (Black Leopards, South Africa), defender Dennis Chembezi (Al-Qassim, Iraq), midfielders John ‘CJ’ Banda UD Songo, Mozambique), Robert Saizi (Zanaco, Zambia) and Lloyd Njaliwa  (Costa do Sol, Mozambique); forwards Frank Gabadinho Mhango (Moroka Swallows, South Africa), Chawanangwa Kaonga (Zanaco, Zambia) and Chifundo Mphasi (Kabwe Warriors, Zambia).

In total, he has included 11-foreign-based players.

The squad also includes seven uncapped players, namely Okedina, Maosa, George Chikooka, Alex Kambirinya, Chrispin Mapemba, Wongani Lungu and Ephraim Kondowe.

The Flames will open their campaign for the title against Kenya on Saturday, March 23 while Zambia will be up against Zimbabwe with the winners of the two matches to then play in the final while the losers will be involved in a third place play-off on Tuesday, March 26 at the same venue.

The following is the full sqaud:

Goalkeepers: Brighton Munthali  (Black Leopard )s, Innocent Nyasulu (Nyasa Big Bullets) and George Chokooka (Silver Strikers).

Defenders:  Jubril Okedina (Cambridge United); Chembezi Denis (Al-Qasim Sports Club) alongside Mark Lameck, Nickson Mwase  (both Silver strikers), Daniel Chimbalanga (MAFCO), Stanley Sanudi, Lawrence Chaziya (both Mighty Wanderers), Yamikani Mologeni, Blessings Mpokera (both Nyasa Big Bullets), Alex Kambilinya (Mighty Wakawaka Tigers) and Joseph Balakasi (Dedza Dynamos).

Midfielders: John Banda (UD Songo), Robert Saizi (ZANACO), Takondwa Maosa (Brentwood Town FC), Lloyd Njaliwa (Costa do sol) alongside Chrispin Mapemba, Lloyd Aaron, Patrick Mwaungulu, Lanjesi Nkhoma, Chikumbutso Salima (all Nyasa Big Bullets), Wisdom Mpinganjira (Mighty Wanderers), Chimwemwe Idana, Patrick Macheso (both Silver Strikers) and Wongani Lungu (Ekwendeni Hammers).

Strikers : Gabadinho Mhango (Moroka Swallows), Chawanangwa Kaonga (ZANACO), Chifundo Mphasi (Kabwe Warriors), Henri Kumwenda (Butler Men’s soccer) alongside Ephraim Kondowe (Nyasa Big Bullets).


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