Malawi national football team on Sunday left for Rwanda for an international friendly against the hosts in Kigali on August 14. However, the coach suffered a setback after three of the players earmarked for the friendly failed to travel with the team due to various reasons.

The first to drop from the squad was Liga Malcumana’s captain Joseph Kamwendo who excused himself from the international friendly due to personal reasons.

Then another Mozambique based player defender Foster Namwela also pulled out of the squad as he is still processing his work permit in Mozambique immigration office.

But Chiukepo Msowoya suffered a knock in Saturday game and has also been ruled out of the qualifier as well. However, Fam General Secretary Suzgo Nyirenda was confident that the players that have replaced the trio were capable of delivering in Rwanda.

“Of course the coach would have loved to have the players in the squad but due to circumstances beyond our control the three players will not be able to travel to Rwanda,” he said.

“But we have confidence in the players that are there. I am sure the game will give the technical panel a chance to prepare for next month World Cup qualifier against Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, Rwanda will also play the friendly match without several of their key players. According to Rwanda media, coach Eric Nshimiyimana will miss the services of midfielder Jean Baptist Mugiraneza who is currently in Nairobi with the Rwanda Military team.

The team will also be without first choice players Michel Rusheshangoga, Faustin Usegimana and Andrew Buteera who will accompany the Rwanda Under-20 to France for the Francophone Games.

Nshimiyimana replaced up-and-coming players with Mohammed Mushimiyimana and Fabrice Twagizimana.

“We need to give these youngsters more exposure and playing against Malawi will help us better prepare for next month’s World Cup qualifier against Benin,” said Nshimiyimana.

The last time the two sides clashed was at 2012 Cecafa Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda where Rwanda triumphed 2-0 in the group stages. – Reported by Joy Ndovi

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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