Striker Schumacher Kuwali has been ruled out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after suffering a thigh injury at the ongoing Flames training camp in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Kuwali tore his right thigh muscles on Monday afternoon and according to team doctor Gift Ligomeka he will be out for a minimum of three weeks.
The player is expected to return to Malawi any day to continue with his rehabilitation.
Flames Head of Technical Mario Marinica described Kuwali’s injury as a big blow to the Flames’ AFCON preparations as he was one of the players eye-marked for the tournament.
“It is not looking good with Schumacher. He has injured his thigh. Unfortunately, he was rated highly in my plans and I was relying on him. He seems to be a versatile player and very good listener who was putting into practice all our strategies.
“He was with us for a long time and was one of the players who was adapting well to the new philosophy. We have to move on without him and find new solutions. We wish him all the best,” said Marinica.
Meanwhile the Flames’ international friendly match against Mali, which was scheduled for Thursday December 30, has been postponed due to late arrival of Mali in Saudi Arabia.
Mali delayed their departure due to COVID-19 setbacks and will only arrive in Jeddah on Wednesday night.
“With COVID-19 protocols it means they will have to isolate for a day which is Thursday as they wait for the COVID-19 results meaning the match cannot be played as scheduled. We are working with organisers to reschedule the match to Friday December 31st. But we will confirm once all parties are aligned. However, the match against Comoros on 4th will proceed as arranged as Comoros are already here,” said FAM Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka.
Marinica described the development as a big blow to his final squad selection process as he will have to select some players before seeing them in a game situation.
“It is a setback because we have a CAF deadline of Thursday to submit our final squad. This doesn’t give me a good chance to identify all the fringe players to see who actually must be and not be in the final 23-man squad,” he said.
Meanwhile South Africa based striker Gabadinho Mhango joined the squad on Tuesday night while Charles Petro has left Malawi on Wednesday afternoon and will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning. Dan Chimbalanga and Charles Thom failed to travel due to visa complications.