Malawi lose captain to personal issue
Malawi Flames have suffered a minor setback following the unavailability of captain Peter Mponda for this Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed to SuperSport.com that Mponda had not reported for training ‘as he was sorting out a personal issue.”
Speaking from Cape Town where he plays for Santos, Mponda earlier confirmed that he was uncertain on his availability for the Nigeria game.
“We will be playing at home where we have only lost once in four years. This Nigeria team is average. We should beat them,” Mponda told SuperSport in an earlier interview.
Santos chief operations officer Edris Burton said he would comment on Mponda after a meeting. The defender and striker Russel Mwafulirwa are the only survivors from the squad that lost 1-0 to Nigeria in 2003 in a 2004 World Cup qualifier.
The absence of Mponda, who has of late been struggling with injuries, should not be a big concern for coach Kinnah Phiri as the Flames look solid at the back but problems persist upfront.
Malawi, who started with an away 0-0 draw on Saturday, have not won this year in four matches of all competitions. Nigeria lead the group on three points having beaten bottom-placed Namibia last Sunday.
By Peter Kanjere in Blantyre