Mabedi lauds new players as Four Nations Preps intensify

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Flames coach Patrick Mabedi, who now has a full squad after United Kingdom and US-based players joined the team in Lilongwe, says preparations for the Four Nations Tournament are going well.

The coach called 11 foreign-based players for the tournament, including Jubril Okedina, (Cambridge United, United Kingdom), Takondwa Maosa of regional league side Brentwood Town FC, United Kingdom) and Henri Kumwenda ( Butler University, US), who are with the squad for the first time.

The squad also has usual campaigners, namely 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).

All the players were in by Tuesday and, giving an update on the team’s preparations, Mabedi said the new players are gelling well with the main squad.

‘So far our preparations have been going on well. The players are looking sharp and they are ready for the tournament,” he said.

Malawi face Kenya on Saturday at Bingu National Stadium while Zambia take on Zimbabwe on match day one of the tournament.

The winners will clash in the final while the losers will fight for the third place on Tuesday.

Mabedi said the two matches will help him try out new combinations.

“It is important to see the combination of these new players who have just joined us.

“As you know we have a team. But it’s still under construction.

“So, the tournament will give us an eye to have a look at the new players who have joined us from UK and US.

” It will help us see how they can combine with the others,” he said.

Asked how the new players are coping with the old ones, Mabedi said they have settled in well.

“They are gelling very well and it’s like they joined us a long time ago.

“I am just happy with the way they are clicking with the team,” said Mabedi.

All the four teams want to use the tournament to prepare for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers which resume in June.

Zimbabwe are in Group C alongside their neighbours South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria, Lesotho and Benin.

The Warriors drew with Rwanda 0-0 and Nigeria 1-1 and face Lesotho and South Africa in June.

Kenya are in Group F alongside Ivory Coast, Gabon, Burundi, Gambia and Seychelles.

They lost 2-1 to Gabon and managed to thrash Seychelles 5-0 and their next fixtures are against Burundi and Ivory Coast.

Zambia are pooled in Group E which also has Morocco, Niger, Tanzania, Congo and Eritrea.

They beat Congo 4-2 and lost 2-1 to Niger. Their next fixtures are against Morocco and Tanzania in June.

Malawi on the other hand started the campaign with 1-0 victory over Liberia 1-0 in Monrovia but lost by the same score line to Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles at Bingu National Stadium.

The Flames are fourth position in the six-member group, led by Tunisia with six points, Equatorial Guinea with six as well on second and Namibia with three points on third.

Liberia and Sao Tome are fifth and sixth with no point.

Source: FAM

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