Some notable football analysts have argued that relieving Ernest Mtawali of his job as coach of Malawi national football team is not any near a solution to the Flames but the administrators must look at the bigger picture first.
Writing on his Favebook Timeline, former Mighty Wanderers official Ernest Maganga said Mtawali has tried bringing in youngsters and nature talent.
“I feel there is no better Malawian coach to train our young players than him,” Maganga said. “This is the guy Malawi consider as the best of the best as far a football players are concerned. Malawi has never produced a more successful player as him having played in big leagues.
“There is nothing that he doesn’t know that our less skilled national team players can’t benefit. Even if we bring the most experienced and successful coaches of the world, nothing will change in the near future.
“We need to develop our game from grassroots. This has always been our song for years with no progress,” Maganga said.
Felix Ngamanya Sapao responded to that since the Flames are out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 Fifa World Cup, the football administrators need to set their sights into the future by setting up proper strictures to expose the youth to the international game.
“Changing coaches won’t solve any problem,” he said. “The problem is we look for instant results.
Football has no shortcuts. Yet we are taking short cuts into the senior national team.
“We now need to plan for 2019 AFCON but with a goal of qualification to 2021 AFCON and with a look at the 2022 Fifa World Cup. Forget about 2019 AFCON cause we will not get there especially that we don’t have junior (U-17, U-20 & U-23) national teams to feed the senior team accordingly without short cuts.
“All our neighbours have large pools of players to choose from. For a start we can copy a leaf from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique whereby each top leagues club registers not less than five or seven Under-20 players in their official 30 registered players and are supposed to field not less than two or three for each official match. This gives a chance for kids to develop,” Ngamanya said.
He gave an example of what former Fam technical director Manfred Hoener did with youth development whose fruits was the squad that qualified for the 2010 AFCON in Angola.
“Those players developed through the ages without shortcuts. They even played in the African Youth Championship in Ghana and participated in Caf club games to get exposure.
“We had quality players then, compared to our neighbours. Now it’s a totally different situation. Building a team needs targets and 2021 AFCON and 2022 World Cup should be the ones we can target,” he said.
Martin Khembo observed that Malawi football doeant have a model or design.
He said football shouldn’t start in secondary school or college — it muat starts in kindergarten with facilities for Under-6 up to 12.
“Let’s prepare the kids from kindergarten and start identifying them and promoting and supporting them [through] competitions like Under-6 to Under-14 and every parent gets involved. In 15 years, Malawi will get competitive. It’s not [about] coaching, it’s country discipline.”
Rex Mponda Phiri put the blame on the coaches, Foorball Association of Malawi (Fam), clubs and Sports Council for lack of or not utilising their strategic plans while former Wanderers general secretary Chipi Mpinganjira bemoaned that the country’s football is still at amatuer level.
“When others are preparing for national games by playing international friendlies, our national team plays against Tigers,” Mpinganjira said. “We still have an amateur league. We are failing to make our Super League professional. Most of our international players are playing in South Africa’s 1st division and in Mozambique…It’s not the coach’s problem!”
George Mwale had this to say: “If we let the current coach be, I reckon we can build a team that could be competent in future. Let there be no interference for two years. Noone can tell me [Mtawali] is dishing out wrong tactics but people criticise negatively when some old players are dropped.”
David Kanyenda said: “I don’t think Mtawali was ready for the national team. He should have remained a development coach. He has never coached a senior club, he lacks the tactical acumen to coach a senior national side.
“I suggest that Fam redeploy him to the junior Flames. He also ought to get attached to a club and obtain more coaching experience,” Kanyenda said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :