Barely a day after new Flames caretaker Coach Gerald Phiri released his 29-man squad for the China game on 28 January, 2016, some soccer analysts believe his selection was poor particularly on some players who were out of form towards the end of 2016 season.
Edwin Nyirongo, a long time follower of Malawian soccer said he is not impressed with Phiri’s selection because he has left out some top promising talent for out form players.
He said the selection does not reflect the true picture of how most of the selected players fared towards the end of the 2016 season.
“I am an advocate of home grown Coaches but I don’t think I can support what Phiri has done. Yes there are some good players selected but not all of them. For instance, how do you pick a whole new defence without an experienced central back? Because to me John Lanjesi and Yamikani Fodya were out of form towards the end of last season and why gamble on them,”said Nyirongo.
Another commentator, Steve Buleya said Phiri has included players not ripe enough to feature for the Flames claiming some belong to the under 20 and under 23.
“Why do you include Mike Mkwate and Duncan Nyoni who to me are still way behind the perkin orders to be regarded as Flames players? And worse still Phiri has left out Diof Simaone and Alfred Manyozo Junior who were outstanding for their teams last season. Why not Bongani Kaipa,” Buleya said.
However, another local football pundit John Simakwe told Nyasa Times that Phiri has selected a good squad only that he has left out some few players who were really outstanding last season.
” The squad is really good. Especially the inclusion of some young talent though I would have loved if some were given experience at Junior flames level. I have seen the inclusion of Mkwate, and the Mzuni striker who I still believe are under development. However I just feel some of the players are not good enough like Muhammad Sulumba who was far from being a striker every top club wished to have in their team at the start of last season,” said Simakwe.
The Flames are expected to go in camp on Sunday ahead of their meeting with China at the official opening of the Bingu National stadium on 28 January, 2016.