Mixed feelings on Flames drop on Fifa ranking

Following the drop of the Malawi national football team in the Coca-Cola world ranking, football fans have expressed their views over this sad development.

As the Flames have not actively observed the FIFA-set calendar dates for playing competitive matches, the team has slipped six positions in the latest official FIFA Coca-Cola world ranking released on 11 April, 2012. The team now occupies positions 23 and 102, in Africa and the world respectively.

Veronica Basikolo Namalima, a Kawale-based football fan, said that she was very concerned about the news. She pointed out the players low pay as one of the factors contributing to the team’s downward slide in the rankings.

Bango: Inactivity

“I was very disappointed when I heard the news. Malawians love football a lot, but our team is letting us down. I think government is not doing enough. It seems our players lack motivation because we don’t give them enough money. The other issue its sponsorship, we have a lot of companies here and they should do something to help the team,” she said.

Bentley Kampini from Area 25 said that Football Association of Malawi (FAM) officials should try to bring in a new coach rather than maintain the current management.

“This is a very sad development. Every time there is news about the Malawi national football team, you just expect to receive a bad news. I think as Malawians we should thank our coach for the job he did to take us to the African Cup of Nations and we should find a new coach, maybe we can see new things,” he said.

Sydney Chaima, another football follower, disagrees with Bentley’s view to fire the coach, but he calls upon government to invest heavily in the team.

“I don’t think firing the coach would be an ideal solution. The issue of preparation is where we are failing, as the team is given very little time to prepare for big matches. Government should pump in more money so that the team should have enough time to be in camp,” said Sydney.

Joy FM reporter George Mkandawire said that Malawi’s dependence on professionals is one of the factors led to the drop.

“This is unfortunate, instead of us making progress we are going down. We use the same players even when they are not finding regular game time at their clubs, but would still see them in the first lineup. The technical panel doesn’t have any interest in looking for players who are doing well in our league and who can help in our team,” he said.

Mike Bango, a sports broadcaster at Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), said that the team is reaping the rewards of inactivity.

“For any team to be ranked well, it depends on how active the team is and the type of games they are playing. If you can remember from January up to now, we have not played any competitive match, except that Chad game, which is bad. With that, how would you expect to be ranked at a good position,” he asked.

Bango further said that June will be a very crucial month for the Flames. He advised that Malawi should play a friendly match with a very strong team in order to prepare for that crucial month.

“We should look forward to the month of June, which will be a very crucial month. In this month we will play three strong teams including Chad (the other two being Nigeria and Kenya). [Chad] a strong team because it beat us, so we cannot take them lightly. We need to have a very strong friendly on a FIFA-calendar date so that we can improve our ranking,” he concluded.

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