What a heart breaking result from Zimbabwe: Hopefully Malawi coach Mtawali will not experiment again at Cosafa Cup

Former footballer Chiza Nyirongo, who came to prominence in mid 90s first playing for University of Malawi FC (UFC) then later with MDC United, questioned on Facebook coach Ernest Mtawali’s Flames call-up for the almost formality Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zimbabwe.Duncan Logo

He questioned the rationale of dropping Chimango Kayira, whom he call “a workaholic midfielder and Robert Ng’ambi, a creative midfielder.

His post received overwhelming response, the majority supporting Chiza’s opinion that the call-up was suspect even though this was just a formality match.

One response said our coaches seem not to have an idea of how to identify and subsequently correct the weak displays by some of those otherwise good players. “Are we saying every time a player plays below par, they be dropped from the squad? Are we going to remain with anyone in the end? We seem to be moving circles — when are we going to have a stable squad? Or are we going to be building forever? Even the so called under 23s are not promising as most of them are already finished. Why can’t we find out why our players don’t last? [It’s] a question the current technical team seem not to have answers to.”

That’s very true — when are we going to have a stable squad? Or are we going to be building forever? The performance of the Flames on Sunday was really pathetic. The players seemed disjointed. They misplaced passes, the lost possession too easily and we don’t seem to have a player who can ably break a tight defensive style of play that the Warriors employed.

What Malawians needed was a win to salvage some pride after two draws and two losses. The fans wanted the Flames to claim an emphatic win so that they go for this year’s Cosafa Cup in high spirits.

But after the 0-3 loss, people have now lost complete trust in this team, especially its selection of players, who don’t seem to want to reward the coach for being trusted to wear the national colours.

Zimbabwe did their homework so well — that is to be defensive but be swift in counter attacks. They won the penalty because they had broken the Flames defence, leaving goalkeeper Charles Swini to bring down his man in the box.

If Zimbabwe were to win this match, we expected the Flames to give them a good run for their money by also scoring but the Warriors have qualified for the 2017 finals on a silver platter.

Perhaps, the Flames should be prepared to beat Swaziland and help the Warriors’ cause. The Warriors have 11 points while the Swazis have eight having beaten Guinea 1-0 also on Sunday. If the Swazis manage to beat the Flames and Guinea beat Zimbabwe, they will tie but still Zimbabwe will qualify beca7se of head to head in which they won and drew with the Swazis.

However, let’s continue to wish the Flames well ahead of the Cosafa that starts from June 11−25 in Namibia. The Flames will start their Cosafa campaign against Angola in Group B that also has Lesotho and Mauritius.

Group A features Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Seychelles and one of the surprise packages from 2015, Madagascar. South Africa are seeded for the quarterfinals together with defending champions Namibia, last year’s runners-up Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. The tournament has a guest nation in DR Congo, who are also seeded for the quarterfinals.

Hopefully, coach Mtawali will not experiment like he did with Zimbabwe. The team is expected to bring excellent results after the disappoint run in the Nations Cup as well as in the World Cup qualifiers.

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5 thoughts on “What a heart breaking result from Zimbabwe: Hopefully Malawi coach Mtawali will not experiment again at Cosafa Cup”

  1. \"Abwana\" says:

    In our time there was a good system of progression. School was the main source of players, where a player was not in School efforts were made to have them employed. How do you explain a youth team made up of married players?? How old are these guys? Administrators have stopped looking at the future of these athletes. I agree with an earlier post, we have been changing everything, part from administrators. We need to look at this constant all variables have made their round. It’s time to scrutinize the policymakers.Abwana

  2. Issa says:

    Only problem is commitment. Look at Iceland with a population of just over 370000 going to the Euros at the expense of Holland. Remember how Zambia won the Afcon? How Leicester won the premier league? How Atletico Madrid reached Champions league final? How Chelsea won the Champions League? Not by playing well but playing with their hearts. Jose Morinho in his interview on BT Sport in 2015 said and I quote ‘ In my first years at Chelsea we won so many trophies not because we had talented players but because we had so many warriors’ Football is the same but fighting spirit make the difference.

  3. International Observer says:

    Improving football still remains within the domain of FAM who should come up with workable programmes and solutions. If the country will only depend on the players from the clubs without nurturing football from the grassroots then we shall always be hitting blank walls. During our time competitions in soccer would commence from primary schools. When you went a notch upwards, in secondary schools we had competitions whereby schools were competing amongst themselves countrywide and the trophy was called Wenela. During holidays in summer FAM organised inter regional secondary schools tournament where regional teams competed. At the university level we had inter university competitions where all the constituent colleges competed amongst each other in various disciplines then a university football team was picked to go and compete with other university in Zambia, Zimbabwe etc. It was from such competitions whereby good players like Kinna, Spy, Patrick, Peterkins, Zorro were identified. To day that is unworkable because those at the helm of football administration first of all think of lining their pockets with stolen money from the Associations hence cringing onto the profit making seats as they did when office bearers election time came. As long as these tendency are not nipped in the bud, such scenarios are here to stay and nothing good will become of it. Why should individuals refuse to leave yet their intention is not for the nation’s interests? Why should they be in office when they cannot plan and improve football like the Padambos of those days who were in those very same seats not for money but the love of the game and the country? Government as the custodian of good administration and overseer of performance/delivery must show that they care by initiating a shakeup of the whole system that is just misusing tax payers money without remorse.

  4. banda says:

    I agree with Afana. Our biggest problem is Malawi football is administrators. Clinging to their posts to cashgate FAM and FIFA money. Unfortunately the cancer has spread to NAM and other sports disciplines. Kuba too much. If the resources were to be used prudently we should have well established football structures and talent could be easily identified and nurtured. Let the stealing business continue! Let us be used to poor results! A mediocre nation! A nation full worshiping theives.

  5. Afana says:

    Are you suggesting that if Chimango and Ng’ambi were part of the game they would have made a difference? How many games have we lost with those guys on the pitch? The truth is that the entire football system in Malawi is pathetic. How many coaches have we changed? how many players have we changed? And guess who hasnt changed???? ADMINISTRATORS!!!! Honestly can we imagine success even with Diego Simione as our coach?

    Maybe mediocre performance of the flames is an indicator of a bigger social problem that we have. Just look at the players commitment and behaviour. The lust for money that exists amongst our administrators in football or in other circles. Its really pathetic. In 1988 during the east and central africa tournament at civo stadium, Malawi was taking on Zimbabwe in a semi final encounter under floodlights and the power went offf. At that time it was goalless but the Zimbabweans were all over the pitch with their goal minder, Japhet Mpalutsa, just superb. It was clear that if the game gets into penalties we didnt stand the chance of progressing. The game was abandoned and replayed the following day starting at 3;30. The result was a resounding 2-0 victory for the flames. We had players who managed to the the complexity of the game overnight. Guys who had confidence with the ball and had confidence in their mates as well. Players who could make their own decisions in the game.

    Even though we never made it big on the international level football wise in the eighties but we were watching exciting soccer from our boys.

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