--In a dramatic twist to the Joseph Kamwendo saga, press reports indicate that the Flames revitalised midfielder is indeed in South Africa but not at Premier Soccer League (PSL) club Bloemfontein Celtic as earlier reported.
According to The Nation, the club’s team manager and former Flames captain John Maduka confirmed in an interview from South Africa that Kamwendo’s name was indeed mentioned and earmarked for possible trials, but that the club felt it wouldn't be a wise move as they already have two other players in that position.
"There must have been a communication breakdown somewhere because the issue of Joseph [Kamwendo] was indeed discussed at some point. However, the technical panel felt he could not be considered as we already have two other players in his position,” the paper quoted Maduka as saying.
"So, I can confirm that there were preliminary discussions. He could indeed be here in South Africa, but he is not here at Celtic."
Kamwendo’s manager Charles Martin and Mighty Wanderers team manager McHodges Chunga told the local media that Kamwendo, who left the country on Saturday, would undergo trials at Phunya Sele Sele.
The player himself could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and the Nomads general secretary David Kanyenda was elusive when contacted on the issue.
"I can neither confirm nor deny [that Joseph is in South Africa]. What I know is that he has been given a week off and might be available for this weekend’s games," said Kanyenda.
But, according to the paper, Martin confirmed that his client was in South Africa and that he was still trying to work out something for him. Last week, another South African top-league side Mamelodi Sundowns said they had indefinitely shelved their plans to sign Kamwendo for technical reasons as they have reportedly filled up their foreign quota.
Such are the dribbles Kamwendo is being subjected to in the rainbow nation and it will not be surprising if he comes back to rejoin his local club Mighty Wanderers sooner than later.
Meanwhile, Flames coach Kinnah Phiri has given a mixed reaction on Robin Ngalande’s dramatic move from Spanish side Atletico Madrid Reserve team to South Africa’s PSL side Bidvest Wits, saying the deal is both good and bad and good for the young player’s career.
South African press reports indicated on Monday that Ngalande has penned a two-year deal with an option of another year with The Clever Boys.
Said Kinnah of the surprise move: "It is a setback for him to leave top class developmental structures in Spain and come back to Africa. He was at a big team and the way he has progressed since he went [there] in 2010 he would have move to the first team very soon.
"More young players and the country in general were looking at him as our potential ambassador to break into a top European team.
"But on the other hand, his move to PSL means he will be exposed to top flight football which is also good for his development as he is [now] a senior national team player. In Spain he was playing for a junior team and junior league but now he will be up in competitive action."
Added the coach: "Wits are a good team with a lot of youngsters and he will blend in easily without much pressure unlike other teams like Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs or Pirates and if he works hard he will return to Europe soon."
But Kinnah said Ngalande, just like other Flames players, need to consult before making such vital decisions.
"Much as we respect that such decisions are personal, it does not hurt to consult us because they are also part of our set-up and where they play matters to the national team. But we wish him all the best," he said.
Soocer Laduna, South Africa’s on-line magazine which last week broke the news that Ngalande was training at Wits, confirmed the deal, quoting a source as saying: "The Siya can confirm that Robin Ngalande has penned a two-year deal with Wits.
The Malawian international has now completed his move to The Clever Boys and will be turning out for the new-look Wits side next season, under the guidance of newly appointed head coach, Antonio
"Habas liked him while at Sundowns youth when Habas was the assistant to Hristo Stoichkov at Chloorkop. I think he will make an impact at the club."
It's also not known if the youngster has signed on permanent basis or has just been loaned as he still has two years remaining on his Madrid contract. Ngalande joined Madrid Under 18 side in 2010 from Sundowns Youth development after he impressed at an International Youth tournament.
He recently played for the Flames in the 2013 and 2014 Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers against Chad and Nigeria at home, respectively, where he proved a gem in the making, although he did not score any goal.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.