Flames Squad for Cosafa Cup Revealed: Interim Coach Mabedi Includes Eight Uncapped Players
Patrick ‘General’ Mabedi, the interim coach of the Malawi National Football Team (Flames), has announced the 25-member squad for the upcoming Cosafa Cup in Durban, South Africa. In a departure from previous selections, Mabedi has included eight players who are yet to make their international debut. Among them are goalkeepers Austin Chirambo and Innocent Nyasulu, defender McDonald Lameck, and midfielders Blessings Singini, Robert Saizi, Chikondi Kamanga, Patrick Macheso, and Chrispine Mapemba.
Mabedi has opted for a squad focused on building for the future, retaining only four players from last year’s tournament: defenders Stanley Sanudi and Dan Chimbalanga, and midfielders Chimwemwe Idana and Patrick Mwaungulu. The squad also features two foreign-based players, strikers Chawanangwa Kaonga and Chifundo Mphasi.
While Mabedi was unavailable for comment, he has previously expressed his commitment to developing young talent. Football pundit Kevin Moyo acknowledged the squad’s long-term perspective but raised concerns about the project’s continuity if Mabedi is not offered a long-term deal.
Alfred Gunda, the General Secretary of the Football Association of Malawi, stated that while no specific targets have been set for the team, they expect the Flames to compete strongly in the tournament. Gunda emphasized the opportunity for players to showcase their skills and attract attention from scouts, with player development being a priority.
The Flames will commence their Group B campaign against defending champions Zambia’s Chipolopolo at King Zwelithini Stadium, followed by a match against Seychelles on Sunday. Their final group fixture will be against Comoros at Chatsworth Stadium. This year marks Malawi’s 22nd attempt at winning the regional tournament, with previous appearances in the finals occurring in 2002 and 2003.
The full squad includes goalkeepers Brightone Munthali, Chirambo, and Nyasulu; defenders Lameck, Dennis Chembezi, Chimbalanga, Lawrence Chaziya, Sanudi, and Nickson Mwase; midfielders Alick Lungu, Frank Willard, Mwaungulu, Singini, Chikumbutso Salima, Saizi, Idana, Kamanga, Macheso, and Mapemba; and strikers Kaonga, Mphasi, Christopher Kumwembe, Gaddie Chirwa, and Lanjesi Nkhoma