Visas delay Flames, leave today


The Malawi men's football team, the Flames failed to leave the country for Saudi Arabia as the authorities in the Middle East country changed arrangements at the last minute.

The players were supposed to leave on Thursday for their pre AFCON qualifiers campaign but were advised on Wednesday eve they would not be issued the Visa's upon entry.

The Flames will face Egypt in Cairo on Friday March 24 and BNS in Lilongwe four days later.

Flames Coach Mario Marinica will travel with a 25-man squad that includes three foreign based players.

Gomezgani Zakazaka of Football Association of Malawi said the FA had to resolve with their counterparts and the team is now expected to leave on Friday or Saturday depending on airline availability.

"Travel logistics, basically it was about Visa's, the initial plan per the arrangement with the Saudi Arabia FA was that FAM was just in the list of the delegation and they would consult with their immigration and they would issue sport Visa's upon arrival. 

"This is the same arrangement that was used in 2021 when we went for pre AFCON tournament campaign. 

"The situation has changed, instead of the sport visa, each and every member has to apply for an individual Visa. We can confirm that the delegation has been granted the individual Visas."

Zakazaka said the friendly matches to be played on Saudi Arabia have not changed.

Meanwhile, Silver Strikers coach has declined to release players to the national team as he prepares for the TNM Super League season starting in April.

Team news:

Scotland based defender Kieran Ngwenya, who is set for Flames return since his debut against Tanzania in a friendly match in June 2021, will join the team on Friday.

Midfielders Fransisco Madinga and John Banda will join the team on Monday March 13 , from Botswana and Mozambique respectively.

FCB Nyasa Bullets winger Patrick Mwaungulu has been ruled out of the trip after picking an injury while on club duty last weekend and has been replaced by Silver Stikers’ Mark Fodya.

full squad traveling to Saudi Arabia:

Goalkeepers: Charles Thom (Silver Strikers), Brighton Munthali (Blue Eagles), Clever Nkungula (Nyasa Big Bullets)

Defenders: Lawrence Chaziya, Miracle Gabeya, Stanely Sanudi (Mighty Mukuru Wanderers), Paul Ndhlovu (MAFCO), Blessings Mpokera, Gomezgani Chirwa, Alick Lungu (Nyasa Big Bullets) Kieran Ngwenya (Aberdeen), Nickson Mwase (Silver Strikers), Kelvin Kadzinje( CIVO)

Midfielders: John Banda ( UD Songo) Francsisco Madinga ( Galaxy FC) Frank Willard , Chawanangwa Gumbo, Patrick Mwaungulu (Nyasa Big Bullets), , Chimwemwe Idana( Silver Strikers), Gilbert Chirwa (Blue Eagles), Micium Mhone (Blue Eagles)

Strikers: Chiukepo Msowoya, Christopher Kumwembe, Gaddi Chirwa(Mighty Mukuru Wanderers), Stain Davie (Silver Strikers)