Flames trip to China generates controversy

Controversy still surrounds the Flames trip to China, as many soccer analyst have described it a shopping trip basing on the fact that the team will play only one strengthen testing match with a Chinese Under-22.

According to Chinese website, it shows that Malawi will play a Chinese Under-22 side because  China senior team was unavailable for the Flames.

This development has irked many soccer fans in Malawi, who have described the trip as not worthy it because of the side which the Flames will tussle with.

The Nation newspaper sports analyst, Peter Kanjere questioned on MBC Wednesday’s’ Sports Program  that, “How can the senior team learn from an Under-22 side? More over the team will
travel to China to play only a single game and with a junior side. To me this looks like more like a shopping trip not a learning trip.”

Malawi to play China under 23: Wasteful

Kanjere said it would be proper if Malawi negotiated with the Chinese to allow them stay there for some days in order to use their training equipment.

“Another way could have been travelling to Zambia or Zimbabwe to play testing matches with their senior teams because in June we will be meeting senior sides like Nigeria, Kenya not an Under-23like the one we are going to play in China,” said Kanjere.

On the same programme, MBC sports reporter Patrick Simango concurred with Kanjere that it was a wasteful trip and that Malawi could have played with Zambia for a worthwhile friendly match.

“I am disappointed that we have been offered an Under-23  for China. These are minnows and to make matters worse their side is comprised of local players,’ said Simango.

Zodiac sports reporter Mike Bango said:  “I do not think it is worthy to the Flames that is preparing to take three big teams in June, at least if we could have also sent  our Under-20 it could have make sense.”

“It could have been better if we could have played a friendly match with the likes of Zambia or any other African strongest side but not with China Under-23. Unless Football Association of Malawi assure us that they will give us another friendly on 26th May but for sure this is just a waste of resources even if it coming from China,” said Bango, who has travelled with the Flames in a number of trips outside Malawi.

The Flames mentor Kinnah Phiri defended the trip saying it will give the players a chance to learn from their colleagues.

Phiri has assembled a squad with full of locally based players for the China trip. He is expected to announce his final 18 man squad over the weekend to travel to China on Sunday, May 6, 2012.

According to China football website www. teamchina.sports.sohu.com, the China Under-23’s head coach is Ratomir Dujkovic assisted by Jia Xiuquan. Its notable players are Chen Tao, Yu Hai, Zhou Haibin.

The China Olympic team was 2002 and 2006 All Asia Games quarter-finalists. While Malawi is currently ranked 108 by Fifa, China is rated 66th.

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