Malawi has revealed that six additional players have tested positive for Covid-19, meaning they will miss their Africa Cup of Nations Group B opener against Guinea on Monday.
When the Flames face the Syli Nationale in their first game in Group B, they will be without eight crucial players.
The six players, including Orlando Pirates attacker Gabadinho Mhango, all received positive results on Saturday, barely a day after two other players were ruled out of the Syli Nationale match due to Covid-19.
Defenders Peter Cholopi, Lawrence Chaziya, Stanley Sanudi, midfielders Chikoti Chirwa and Robin Ngalande, and striker Mhango have already been placed in isolation, according to a statement from Malawi.
“The Football Association of Malawi would like to report that the Flames players and officials completed a Covid-19 PCR test on Saturday afternoon, 48 hours before the team’s first encounter against Guinea on Monday,” according to a statement on Malawi’s official website.
“Unfortunately, six players and three members of the technical staff tested positive, and they will be unable to play on Monday.” Peter Cholopi, Lawrence Chaziya, and Stanley Sanudi are the defenders; Chikoti Chirwa and Robin Ngalande are the midfielders; and Gabadinho Mhango is the striker.
“The officials are Mario Marinica, Head of Technical Panel, Swadick Sanudi, goalie trainer, and Chikondi Mandalasi, physiotherapist.” The nine are being held in isolation by the squad’s Covid-19 medical team, which is supervised by Dr. Precious Kadzamira.”
Malawi’s head of delegation, Tiya Somba Banda, confirmed the occurrence, saying, “It’s a difficult circumstance that we won’t have the players and some of the technical personnel for the opening match.”
“Our medical team is on the job to make sure the players and officials go back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, striker Richard Mbulu, who tested positive at the team’s 10-day training camp in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has had his results reversed and will rejoin the squad on Sunday.
“However, the good news is that Richard [Mbulu] will join us on Sunday and will be available for selection, and the technical panel has already devised a plan for the Guinea match,” Banda added.
“We expect that by the time the nine, including officials, have healed and cleared for the following match against Zimbabwe, the Flames will have had another test.”
Malawi announced on Friday that two players, midfielder Charles Petro and defender Mark Fodya, had tested positive for the virus and would miss the first match.
Fodya is set to leave Saudi Arabia on Sunday and rejoin the team in Cameroon on Monday, while Petro will remain in Jeddah and undergo another test on Monday.