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Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Caf acknowledge Malawi complaint

By Richard Connelly
BBC Sport, Luanda, Angola

Malawi players wait on bus
Malawi players wait on the bus after being refused access to training ground

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has referred an official complaint it has received from Malawi to the local organising committee (Cocan) following Thursday night's defeat to Angola.

Malawi coach, Kinnah Phiri, told the BBC his team had been "demoralised" by being refused access to training facilities on three separate occasions.

"We have written a letter to Caf, and to the Angolan association, and we've put up a protest," Phiri said.

"It's not the right way to treat the teams."

Caf spokesman Souleymane Habuba confirmed the organisation had received a letter of complaint from Malawi, but when asked by the BBC what action would be taken in response, he would only say Caf had passed the letter onto the local organising committee.

"The organising committee will definitely look at the content of the letter and then based on the information that they have, they will definitely take an appropriate decision," he said.

Habuba also refused to confirm whether the Malawians would face further training problems ahead of their crucial final group game against Mali.

Kinnah Phiri
Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri says his players were upset at their treatment

Having beaten Algeria 3-0 in Group A on Monday, Malawi lost their second match 2-0 to hosts Angola, a result Phiri blamed on poor preparation.

"The guys were demoralised," he said.

"They came [to the stadium] demoralised, because of the issue of the ground.

"We were not given any training facilities.

"Each time, we were told to go at 1600 to the ground, and we found Angola training [there].

"We waited for Angola to finish training and we went to go in, and they said 'no, the ground belongs to the club, you can't train' and the police kicked us out.

"So we had a lot of problems, and I'm sure that affected my players."

"Every team is supposed to be given facilities to train. We were given the same ground as Angola, and they are supposed to give us our own time.

I have to work on [the players'] minds for the last game, because [they] now feel that the tournament is not being run properly, and it's favouring other teams

Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri

"But they failed to do that - they wouldn't let us on. So we failed to train three times. And the boys were not happy about it."

Phiri said the situation was compounded by the notorious Luanda traffic.

"We spent more than four hours on the bus, waiting to get there, and then sitting there waiting to get on to the pitch.

"Then they tell us we can't train, and then we travel another two hours getting back to the hotel, frustrated."

With one game to go in Group A, Malawi are second, but need to beat Mali in Cabinda on Monday to be certain of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in the country's history.

Phiri added: "It's difficult. I have to work on [the players'] minds for the last game, because [they] now feel that the tournament is not being run properly, and it's favouring other teams."

"I've told the guys to keep cool and be strong. We still have a wonderful opportunity."

Additional reporting by Piers Edwards.

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see also
Angola 2-0 Malawi
14 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations photos
14 Jan 10 |  Football
Malawi 3-0 Algeria
11 Jan 10 |  African
Malawi boss awarded new contract
13 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations fixtures
07 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations tables
07 Jan 10 |  African

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