There are suggestions from some football pundits that maybe Malawi national team should not participate in the qualifying rounds of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations but instead concentrate on building a strong side through participation in junior tournaments.
Much as I don’t agree with the idea of foregoing the 2019 Nations Cup, I believe that there is really serious need to invest in the youth through national Under-17, 20, 23 teams.
The powers that be should make sure that Football Assciation of Malawi (Fam) is allocated with the needed funds for it to assemble junior teams and participate at the international level.
After the bitter disappointment that the Flames have subjected us in the World Cup, the Nations Cup and the early exit from the Cosafa Cup, we now need to look for avenues to bring back the lost glory through the proper process of rebuilding.
I loved what Angola did for the Cosafa Cup, they brought an almost Under-20 side in order to build a new team.
The Cosafa Castle Cup was launched in 1997 to give the southern African regional members chance for their domestic league players to rise to prominence and grow in strength and confidence.
Am sure Angola will use their squad that went to Cosafa, except for a very few, for participation in Under-20 international tournaments.
This is what we should have had as one way of rebuilding. Coach Ernest Mtawali was appointed after the team’s disappointment under coach Young Chimodzi.
But Mtawali was forced to always try several combinations for each of his games because he was given the target to win at all cost. The man was under pressure to deliver the goods and he was always experimenting with the squad he enherited.
It has been a disaster in the way he chose his first choice teams but at the same time, the players themselves did not reward their coach for being entrusted to carry the black, red and green national colours.
You could see that since the team kept changing, the players were not gelling together because by the time they take on the next game, the team combination was different.
We need to invest through the ranks and only through Under-17, 20, 23 national team participation. Those are the players who will be entrusted with the Cosafa Cup participation like what the other nations are doing.
In the case of South Africa, their coach Shakes Mashaba included a number of players with previous international experience, including two plying their trade in Europe – in France and in Denmark.
He selected such a squad for the Cosafa because he had plans that they should test themselves ahead of their participation at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games this August.
That’s what Fam can do — register the Flames for the 2019 Nations Cup, arrange high profile friendly matches for them during the Fifa calendar days for friendlies, then include three or more youths to test them during such strenth testing matches.
Such young blood inclusion can only be identified from those that are doing exremely well at their junior team levels.
Without international junior participation, we might just as well forget about our football taking any step forward. The rest of the Cosafa region is building teams for the future except Malawi — we need to rebuild seriously otherwise we will remain the region’s punchbacks by the very same teams that the Flames easily shrugged aside.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :