Ng’ambi unhappy with bench, Malawi coach justifies decision

Platinum Stars and Malawi international talented midfielder Robert ‘Baggio’ Ng’ambi has emptied his chest and has since demanded an explanation from head coach Kinnah Phiri on why he has been sidelined when in national colours.

Despite enjoying game time and at times being given captains armband at his club, Ng’ambi has been subject to omission on first 11 line-up.

Ng’ambi through Malawi’s local radio Zodiak said on Tuesday that he is disappointed to have been left warming the bench.

“It is painful to be travelling all the way from South Africa just to be watching your friends playing. Government spends a lot of money bringing us here but we are not being used,” said Ng’ambi.

Ng'ambi was also left on the bench

“Maybe the coach believes that local league is better than South African League,” he added.

Kinnah explains

But Flames coach has defended his move to left Ng’ambi in the starting line-up which played against Ghana, saying the player lacked pace in a friendly against Liberia ahead of Ghana encounter.

“What I observed is that our players playing in South African are lacking pace as witnessed in our friendly against Liberia in Monrovia. Robert struggled when I introduced him and that is why I decided to maintain Chimango (Kaira) and Dave (Banda),” said the Flames mentor.

Nyasa Times understands that the most disappointment moment for Ng’ambi was also at the Afcon 2010 finals in Angola.

He was left on the bench by Kinnah only to be introduced late in the match.

This happened as a soccer agent from a European club flied to Angola to watch Ng’ambi playing for his country with an outright contract at his disposal.

Facebook rant

The midfield workhorse took to the social media, Facebook to rant about his bench status, saying he was dumbfounded with the decision.

Several Malawians commented on his post.

Clifford Mtheto Msiska wrote: “It doesn’t make sense for a player of your calibber with much needed experience and exposure to be left out of the bench. Some of the tactics of our coach are very questionable no wonder Ghana coach questioned why those subs were on the bench considering
they changed the tempo of the game.”

Thomas Chafunya also wrote in support of Ng’ambi that: “Stars always start; I have no kind words for your coach whatever his or her name is.”

James Kabuze wrote: “It is surprising that our coach chose to sideline Baggio yet he is the only professional player enjoying game time at Platinum Stars.”


Meanwhile, the coach is in search of two defenders to replace James Sangala and Limbikani Mzava who will miss the second leg match against Ghana in October.

Sangala, Malawi’s reliable centre-back got sent off for a second bookable offence in the 82nd minute of the game against Ghana in Accra while Mzava will be serving a two yellow card

Kinnah said Mzava will be straight away be replaced by Foster Namwera who missed Ghana trip due to yellow card suspension.

The coach has also revealed that he will try to bring in few strikers as the return leg will require attacking throughout to return the 2-0 deficit.

Blue Eagles midfielder John Banda who has scored crucial goals for the Flames is also likely to return to the squad after being on the sidelines as a result of a broken leg.

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