TAIFA Starts defender has been axed out of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers after striking a professional deal with South African side, Baroka FC.
Banda, who was in the Taifa Stars squad that finished third overall in the just ended Cosafa Cup Championship in South Africa, will miss the continental level’s opening match against Rwanda in Mwanza, this weekend.
The national team coach Salum Mayanga confirmed in Mwanza yesterday that he had to release Banda from the team to enable him complete processes to join his new club. Speaking in Mwanza where the team has camped for the weekend duel against Rwanda, Mayanga said by joining a professional team, Banda ceased to play in the tournament that only involve home league players.
Banda has signed a threeyear contract with the South African team, according to reports. Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football has said there are no immediate plans to scrap the African Nations Championship (Chan) despite its lack of appeal among some coaches and players.
The tournament, primarily aimed to serve as a development vehicle for players based on the continent, has proved to be a headache for most coaches as it does not fall within the Fifa calendar. As such clubs, especially those on the continent, are not obliged to release players, this has left coaches scratching all over to find players.
Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad Ahmad, in his first visit to SA, said the tournament would continue to feature on the Caf calendar. Ahmad said that, while there were some reservations about the Cosafa and Chan tournaments, these competitions were critical in developing the game on the African continent.
He said instead of doing away with these tournaments, the issue which African football leaders should grapple with is how to consolidate those regional tournaments. Taifa Stars, who competed in Chan finals in 2007 are taking the championship quite seriously.
The tram is in Mwanza preparing for first leg match of the 2018 CHAN qualifier against Rwanda at CCM Kirumba stadium. Speaking in Mwanza yesterday, Coach Mayanga said his players have been training intensively for the match in their bid to beat Rwanda by a win big margin.
“Rwanda is one the most difficult team and they have the best team, but we will not care about that. Our focus is solely on the victory by a big margin,’’ he said. Speaking on the Cosafa tournament Performance, he said the tournament was very hard but he is proud that his players have gained enough experience which will help them win against Rwanda in Mwanza.