Lagos - The Malawi national men’s soccer team is wary of underhand tactics it fears hosts Nigeria will employ ahead of a crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier.
The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) General Secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, said the organisation “would not want to leave anything to chance” and wanted to have the visas processed before leaving for Nigeria before the match scheduled for Calabar.
“We have the Nigeria Embassy right here in Lilongwe. We therefore can have our visa processed before starting off. We do not want to leave anything to chance and do not want to experience what the other teams in the group experienced when they went to play in Calabar,” he said.
Nyirenda said that Namibian and Kenyan counterparts had warned FAM that it should expect a “tough ride” in Nigeria if they did not process their visas before leaving for Nigeria.
“We are reliably informed that if we go there without processing the visas, we might spend hours at the airport waiting for the visas to be processed, like the way Kenya and Namibia were made to wait. We do not want that to happen,” he said.
“That is why we will make sure we get our visas processed right here. In addition, there is only one local flight connecting to Calabar and if we miss that flight due to the visa complications we are bound to arrive in Calabar an hour before the game which we do not want to happen,” added the FAM official.
FAM had earlier raised security concerns about Calabar, the Cross River State capital, as the venue of the match. The city is infamous for kidnappings of foreigners for ransom.
Nigeria rubbished FAM’s concerns insisting matches have been played there without incidents. FIFA also insisted that the venue was safe for the match.
Africa champions Nigeria need a draw to proceed to the next round while Malawi must win to leapfrog the Super Eagles who lead Group F.
– CAJ News