Malawi national football team, the Flames, drew 2-2 against Swaziland in the Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers on Saturday reducing their qualification chances further in a game which they led comfortably.
Gerald Phiri Jnr put the Flames a head in the first 10 minutes of the game before the home side equalized. A few minutes later Chiukepo Msowoya scored what could have been the Flames winner but Swaziland managed to equalize forcing the two teams to share points.
However, after the game Nyasa Times senior Sports Reporter Jeromy Kadewere had an exclusive interview with former Flames captain Peter ‘Mjojo’ Mponda to get his views on the result and the way forward for the Flames to excel through in their group.
JK: Flames 2-2 draw against Swaziland in the AFCON qualifiers’, what do you make out of this result?
MP: It is just the first game for the coach (Ernest Mtawali), but seriously whether Swaziland defeated Guinea away from home, we were supposed to get three points today. If we really want to qualify for the finals, its teams like Swaziland we should be beating home and away.
JK: There was an outcry from a certain section of fans that Flames technical panel left veteran players. Did this had an effect to the game?
MP: I will say Ernest is the head coach and he knows what he is doing, but he shouldn’t try to impress too much. He has played the highest level he should not be scared of veterans. Look at the way Esau Kanyenda played at Kamuzu Stadium. You will believe that age is just a number. Joseph Kamwendo is or was the captain of the team. Do we still need him? I will say Yes he brings morale to the team.
JK: Are you trying to say it was wrong for Ernest to leave out Kamwendo and Kanyenda?
MP:Kamwendo motivates players when the chips are down, while Esau theyway he played in the previous game against Zimbabwe l don’t believe he deserved a chop in the squad.
JK: What about….oh! Seems you have something to say…continue Peter?
MP: I cannot believe that Robert Ng’ambi was left on the bench for 90 minutes. This is a waste of talent.
JK: What was the secret during your time that we even qualified for AFCON 2010 in Angola ?
MP: Firstly l should say luck but l will go on to say we created our own luck, team spirit was good and also it was a team which played together for a quiet a long time.
JK: Peter was it a good move to play a second division side in South Africa ahead of today’s game?
MP: May be to the coaches it was a good move but from someone seeing things from far it wasn’t. Players can shine with small teams where as at the bigger stage they can’t play the same and coaches can be deceived.
JK: We still have many games ahead of us. What can you tell Ernest and the whole team?
MP: We need to be realistic; first you cannot leave out players like Esau Kanyenda, Robert Ng’ambi and Joseph Kamwendo. These players can win us games easily. If we struggle against Swaziland who are we going to beat? I know people will be excited that it was an away game but that mentality is the reason why we are not making progress.
JK: May be some people will say the coach is building a new team?
MP: The fans need results; people do not want to be told that we are building a team. We have heard that song for a long time, then every coach who will be coming will be building and we will not get the results.
JK: Any last words Peter?
MP: It’s just the first game and let us all unite because this is just the beginning. We still have many games ahead of us.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :