Malawi coach Meck Mwase continued his trust in the local based players, while having some few surprises in naming his 23-players squad for the back-to-back 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Burkina Faso.
The Flames will face Burkina Faso on 12 November, before hosting the Stallions a week later in Blantyre.
Speaking before departure to Ouagadougou, Mwase said his charges are ready to compete with the hosts.
“We have come a long way to make it to the group stages. We are encouraged by the performance of the boys, so we have faith in them. After two weeks of training, the boys look positive and we hope it will continue during the game. They have worked very hard. It’s a game of football, so I hope the boys will give it all. We are going there to compete,” he said.
Despite his optimism, Mwase has travelled to Burkina Faso without talismanic striker Gabadinho Mhango. The striker got injured while playing for Orlando Pirates in South Africa a fortnight ago.
In the absence of Mhango, Mwase has selected Vincent Nyangulu of Be Forward Wanderers in the travelling party to Burkina Faso.
Mwase explained the choice of Nyangulu: “Vincent has demonstrated in training that he is ready to fight for the team. We have accommodated Vincent Nyangulu because of the absence of Gabadinho. It is a crucial game for us and there is no time for experimentation.”
Mhango is the only notable absentee in the squad which has since welcomed the return of former captain Limbikani Mzava from AmaZulu in South Africa. Mzava has not played for the Flames for over a year due to personal reasons.
To prepare for the match against Burkina Faso, Malawi played friendlies against Zambia, losing 1-0 in Lusaka before drawing 0-0 against Zimbabwe in Blantyre.
Malawi Flames are third in Group B with three points, one less than Burkina Faso. They defeated bottom-placed South Sudan 1-0 before losing 2-0 away to Uganda.
History does not favour Malawi ahead of this away contest. The Flames have never defeated the Stallions in four games in which Burkina Faso has won thrice with the other game ending in a 0-0 draw. Malawi lost 1-0 in their last visit to Burkina Faso in 2009.
Goalkeepers: Brighton Munthali (Silver Strikers), William Thole (Be Forward Wanderers), Ernest Kakhobwe (Nyasa Big Bullets)
Defenders: Stanley Sanudi, Peter Cholopi (Be Forward Wanderers), Precious Sambani, Nixon Nyasulu (Nyasa Big Bullets), Charles Petro (Sherrif Tiraspol, Moldova), Limbikani Mzava (AmaZulu, South Africa), Dennis Chembezi (Polokwane City, South Africa).
Midfielders: Chimango Kaira, Peter Banda, Chimwemwe Idana (Nyasa Big Bullets), Chikoti Chirwa (Kamuzu Barracks), Rafik Namwera, (Be Forward Wanderers), Duncan Nyoni (Silver Strikers), Micium Mhone (Blue Eagles), Gerald Phiri (Baroka, South Africa), John Banda (UD Songo, Mozambique)
Strikers: Vincent Nyangulu (Wanderers), Richard Mbulu (Baroka, South Africa), Schumacher Kuwali (UD Songo, Mozambique), Hassan Kajoke (Nyasa Big Bullets)