The Confederation of East and Central Africa Associations (Cecafa) on Tuesday gave Football Association of Malawi a green light to participate in this year’s Senior Challenge Cup scheduled to take place in Uganda from November 24 to December 8.

Initially, Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Cote D’Ivoire applied to Cecafa to be invited as guests.

But after qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations Cup finals to be hosted by South Africa next January, Zambia are no longer eligible since the Confederation of African Football (Caf) does not allow teams that have qualified for the finals to take part in any competition two months before the tournament.

Fam general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed the development and said it was a big boost for the Flames who risked being idle after failing to qualify of the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

“I got the letter from Cecafa last night. This is good news considering that Malawi’s next match will be against Namibia in March 2013 and as one way of keeping the team active, Cecafa is one of the competitions that can assist in exposing more local upcoming players apart from playing on Fifa Calendar dates,” Nyirenda said yesterday.

Cecacaf will provide accommodation and food while Fam is expected to ask government to pay for air tickets to and from Uganda; internal training allowances, meals, and external allowances.

“We have since written the Ministry of Sports on the invitation and we wantthe usual assistance in terms of finances. We have planned that once we get the Government’s approval then the team should start camp training on Monday 12th November 2012 at Chiwembe Technical Centre. The budget includes; air tickets to and from Uganda, internal training allowances, meals, and external allowances,” Nyirenda said.

The national team coach Kinnah Phiri has since submitted a list of 25 players to start camping but the general secretary said the names would be available after getting government’s approval.

The coach wants to use the Cecafa to keep the Flames busy as they prepare for the World Cup qualifiers second legs.

Malawi are in the same group with Nigeria, Namibia and Kenya.

The Flames, who drew with Kenya and Nigeria, face Namibia in March before playing Kenya in June.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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