…Names 27-man squad for Egypt matches
Flames coach Marian Mario Marinica has named his final 27-man squad for the back-to-back 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Egypt.
The Flames coach has, however, hit at clubs for for refusing to release players early for the national team’s camp.
The Romanian had initially selected a 25-man local squad that travelllled to Saudi Arabia for a ten-day camp ahead of the showdown but some of the locally based players have failed to make it into the final list as Marinica has added several foreign based players but without striker Richard Mbulu who hasn’t featured for Flames since the Afcon finals in Cameroon.
Malawi, second in the standings with three points, face the Seven time champions in Cairo on 24th March before the return leg on 28th March.
Marinica himself has insisted that he has a team ready to compete and not just to participate, saying the players now also need to believe in themselves.
“I can proudly say Malawi is no longer participating but rather a competitive team, and we hope that this will give us the points that we need in the two games,” he told FAM Media.
On camping in Saudi Arabia, the tough spoken Romanian said: “The Saudi camp was good. It could have been a little better if we had started camping earlier to have more days and more matches but unfortunately we didn’t capitalize on this opportunity but overall, we have done well and our matches we played, showed us shortcoming but we have worked on them and we believe on ourselves.”
However, he was quick to hit at some local clubs who were refusing to release players early for camping, saying the team needed more time together to have the players fully fit following a prolonged off-season break.
“Our preparations have been good. It could have been better if the league had started back home to have some players fully fit. It could have also been better for some clubs to understand that national team is completely different from others especially when it comes to camping. We need to have players together because these players are not playing in highly competitive leagues so therefore we need more time to be together so that they can become competitive,” he concluded.
Below is the full squad: