Malawi national team Flames head coach Ernest Mtawali says he will not release his players for club duties once the final squad is named on Thursday at Chiwembe Technical Centre in Blantyre.
The mentor is expected to name his final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary first leg qualifier against Tanzania next week.
Speaking to the press, Mtawali argued that releasing the selected players for club duties will be too risky for considering how important the Tanzanian clash is to his side.
“It’s a gamble to release the players for club duties. We will face Tanzania next week and if players gets injured while playing for their clubs, it will cost us dearly.
“I am hoping that FAM, Sulom and all the involved stakeholders will sit down and find a solution but I won’t release my players,” he said.
The decision will definitely affect the Blantyre derby which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, four days before Malawi’s game against the Taifa Stars.
On his part, Mtawali added that he is very much aware that teams will not allow to play without their key players but asked them to consider national team interests as well.
Commenting on the development, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda says the rules of the game will apply.
“We have the rules regarding the contribution of players to the national team. We are yet to be told the names of the players that will make it into the final squad.
“However, we will still follow the FAM calendar and as far as we are concerned, the games will go ahead as planned,” said Banda.
The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) through general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said they will wait to hear from the Technical Panel on the selected local squad for the clash.
He also added that if it happens that one team has contributed more than four players, the association will seek guidance from Sulom because they are the ones administering the top flight.
Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets have contributed seven and four players respectively to the team.
Both clubs have since had reacted on Mtawali’s decision.
“Its not about the number of players contributed to the team but we all know that for the coach to pick a player, he goes for a quality. In this case, any team which contributes a player, should not be given a game,” said Wanderers general secretary Mike Butawo.
Bullets also echoed with their rivals saying it will be difficult to play such an important game without their key players.
“We understand what the coach is saying but this game is very important to us so we are asking all the stakeholders to reach a consensus,” said vice general secretary Kelvin Moyo.