Misfiring Malawi recall veteran ahead of CHAN Kenya

Malawi national football team. PHOTO/AFP
Malawi national football team. PHOTO/AFP


Misfiring Malawi have recalled veteran Joseph Kamwendo for a must-win Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifier against Madagascar in Lilongwe Saturday.

A late Morelin Raveloarison goal gave the dominant Madagascans a 1-0 first-leg victory last weekend when qualifying began for the 2018 tournament in Kenya.

Malawi also failed to score in a warm-up match against Kenya en route to Antananarivo, leaving new Belgium-born coach Ronny van Geneugden with a headache.

The 48-year-old who took charge of the “Flames” only this month responded to the crisis by calling up six midfielders and strikers.

Kamwendo is the best known having played for two former African champions, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Orlando Pirates of South Africa.

Now 30, he was also on the books of clubs in Zimbabwe, Denmark and Mozambique before returning home to join leading Malawian outfit Be Forward Wanderers.

Van Geneugden hopes Kamwendo can unlock a Madagascar defence that was barely tested in the first meeting.

The Belgian says his priorities are creating a style national and club sides can adopt and lifting the central African country up the FIFA rankings.

Consistent underachievers Malawi were ranked 27th in Africa and 100th in the world this month.

Football Association of Malawi boss Walter Nyamilandu has hailed Van Geneugden even though he has no previous coaching experience in Africa.

“We want our national teams to perform better,” he stressed. “We need a new mentality and attitude and believe Ronny will help us achieve that.”

The overall winners will face Mozambique in a national team competition unique to Africa with only home-based footballers eligible.

Concerned that many African national squads were dominated by Europe-based stars, CAF introduced the Nations Championship in 2008 and there have been four editions.

DR Congo won the competition twice and Tunisia and Libya once.

South Sudan should book a second-round showdown with Uganda having won 2-1 away to Somalia in a match hosted by Djibouti for security reasons.

Mauritius take a 2-1 lead to the Seychelles with Belgian coach Joe Tshupula vowing to attack rather than defend the slender advantage.

“We are not here to hang on to what we have – that would be suicidal,” he promised on arrival in Victoria, capital of the Indian Ocean state.

Angola await the aggregate winners in a qualifying competition played regionally to trim travelling costs for many cash-strapped African football associations.

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