By Football Association of Malawi
Four-time African footballer of the year Samuel Eto’o and Malawi’s top football export Ernest Mtawali will headline the Mpira Stadium Inauguration match to be played on Wednesday on the sidelines of the FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s visit to Malawi.
Eto’o a two-time AFCON, three-time UEFA Champions League and one-time Olympic champion will lead a team of FIFA and FAM Officials that will also comprise of former French national football team attacking midfielder Youri Raffi Djorkaeff, a 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 200 winner with France.
The FIFA/ FAM team will also feature FIFA President Gianni Infantino and FAM President Walter Nyamilandu and other high-profile FIFA and FAM officials including Flames Coach Meck Mwase and his assistants Lovemore Fazili and Bob Mpinganjira as well as Malawi Under 20 coach and former Flames captain Peter Mponda.
On the other hand, Mtawali who played club football in South Africa, Argentina, France, Italy and Saudi Arabia will lead a team of former Flames greats that includes big names like Patrick Mabedi, Chancy Gondwe, Swadick Sanudi, Joseph Kamwendo and Fischer Kondowe among others.
Legendary coaches Kinnah Phiri and Yasin Osman will be in charge of the FIFA/ FAM and the Flames Legends respectively.
The match is one of the activities lined up ahead of Infantino’s first visit to Malawi whose main objective is to inaugurate the Mpira Stadium and the FAM Football Academy which were funded under his FIFA Forward initiative.
FAM General Secretary Alfred Gunda said the country is excited to host the FIFA delegation.
“It is very exciting to see Etoo and Djorkaeff come to Malawi and play a match. Malawians have for a long time been looking forward to see Eto’o in Malawi.
Flames did not play Cameroun during the time he was playing. We have had big stars from Ivory Coast, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria and Ghana coming to Malawi but not Eto’o.
“As FAM we thought of also honoring our own sons to come and be part of this great event
“Having the FIFA president in our country to appreciate our football development projects is exciting. It gives us a chance to showcase what we are doing with their money and enable as lobby for more,” said Gunda.
Mtawali said he was excited to be called for such a match and thanked FAM for the gesture.
“This is a great initiative to have former players come together and mingle with top officials we hope this should continue beyond this meeting,” he said.
According to Gunda, the FIFA delegation will arrive at the Chileka Airport on Wednesday 27th November 2019 at 2pm and will proceed to Mpira Village in Chiwembe where led by Infantino and Minister of Sports Francis Phiso, there will be a tour of the stadium and its official inauguration.
The delegation which also comprise of CAF President Ahmad, FIFA GS Fatma Samoura, FIFA Deputy General Secretary Football Mattias Grafstrom, FIFA Acting Head of Member Association Veron Mosengo- Omba, FIFA Head of Communication Onofre Costa, FIFA Presidents Office Manager Federico Raviglione and FIFA Regional Development Officer David Fani, will leave the country at 8 pm in the evening the of same day.