Govt approves Malawi vs Zambia friendly on independence day
It is on. Malawi President Joyce Banda has given her seal of approval that the international friendly match between the Flames and African champions Zambia’s Chipolopolo should be part of the country’s 48th Independence Anniversary Celebrations.
There was a cloud of uncertainty over the match as it was not part of the initial programme for the independence celebrations programme.
However, Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chakufwa Chihana on Wednesday said he sought the President’s intervention on the matter.
"I took up the matter with Her Excellency and it pleased her that the match should be part of the Independence Anniversary programme.
"So, if Zambia have not changed their programme then the match is definitely on," said Chihana on Wednesday.
FAM and Flames coach Kinnah Phiri hailed the President and the minister, saying the match will play a crucial role in helping the Flames to tune-up for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Said Nyamilandu: "The match will definitely give the coaching panel a chance to assess potential local talent. It also keeps us to be active every month until September when we are supposed to play the Africa Cup of Nations final round of qualification."
He also said FAM is in the process of confirming the match and travel arrangements with their Zambian counterparts [Football Association of Zambia].
The FAM president also said the Flames are most likely to go into camp this Sunday to start preparing for the match.
On his part, Kinnah said: "The development comes as a relief because Zambia are the reigning African champions and the match will definitely help us prepare for the final round of the 2013 Afcon qualifiers in which we expect to be drawn against a continental giant."
The African champions have named a 26-member squad that is expected to go into camp in Lusaka on July 2 to start preparations for the game.
Zambia’s coach Herve Renard has included two foreign-based players—Moses Siansumo of TP Mazembe in DR Congo and defender Aaron Katebe of Zimbabwean side Hwange.
FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza said the Chipolopolo would have at least a game every month, starting next month and that on the Fifa date in August, the African champions would face South Korea in a friendly match, marking the beginning of Zambia’s preparations for the 2013 Afcon qualifiers.