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THE former Jomo Cosmos duo of Essau Kanyenda and Russell Mwafulirwa are the only Europe-based players who will represent Malawi in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Angola next month.
The Flames are in Cairo for an international friendly against Egypt's Pharaohs as part of their final preparations for the continental showpiece.
The 23-man squad comprises eight players plying their trade in Malawi and 15 who play outside the country.
Injury has robbed Tanzania-based Wisdom Ndlovu of a place in the squad.
Hard-working Black Leopards midfielder Fischer Kondowe, German-based Dan Chitsulo and Clement Kafwafwa, who is based in Denmark, were dropped for the Afcon.
Malawi, who have former Kaizer Chiefs defender Jack Chamangwana as technical adviser, are in a "group of death" with hosts Angola, Algeria and Mali. This will be their first appearance in the competition in 25 years. They were eliminated in the first round of their previous appearance.
Dribbling wizard Josephy "Shakira" Kamwendo is confident they will make it to the knockout stage this time round. "The games against Egypt and Togo (at Kamuzu Stadium on January 2) will help us a lot in our final preparations for Angola," Kamwendo said.
Coach Kinnah Phiri, who was team manager of the Flames at their only previous Afcon finals, also feels Malawi will qualify for the second round.
"It's a tough one because we have all the continental giants in our group, but the team that we have assembled will make Malawi proud," he said.
The Malawi squad is:
Goalkeepers - Swadick Sanudi, Simplex Nthala and Charles Swini.
Defenders - Peter Mponda (captain), James Sangala, Allan Kamanga, Maupo Msowoya, Moses Chavula, Harry Nyirenda and Ivis Kafoteka.
Midfielders - Dave Banda, Hellings Mwakasungula, Kamwendo, Peter Wadabwa, Robert Ng'ambi and Jacob Ngwira.
Strikers - Chiukepo Msowoya, Esau Kanyenda, Russell Mwafulirwa, Atusaye Nyondo, Jimmy Zakazaka and Victor Nyirenda.