The Sorry state of Malawi Football

By McLloyd Kudzingo
Football is the most recognized sport in the world with over 3 billion fans. In Malawi people love the sport like  religion. For many years now football administrators have been bragging that the standards of the game are improving in the country. However if the performance of Malawi national football team and local clubs is anything to go by then Malawi football has a long way to go.
Football in Malawi needs to undergo a lot of transformation.
Just last week, Malawi’s representatives in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) club tournaments suffered a humiliation in their preliminary matches.
Be Forward Wanderers FC were booted out in the Caf champions league by AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo after a 6-1 humiliation.
Their counterparts Masters Security had their faces cast down after being thumped 5-0 by Atletico Petroleos de Luanda of Angola in the Caf confederations cup. The Malawian side lost 5-0 in the first leg that took place at the 48,500 seater 11 November stadium.  Their home much ended goal-less at the magnificent Bingu National Stadium (BNS)
What analyst are saying
Unlike Be Forward Wanderers who emerged champions in Malawi’s TNM super league,  Masters Security narrowly survived relegation in their debut season. Nonetheless the two teams’ decision to join the continental showpiece surprised many soccer followers and analysts doubted if the teams were going to do well in the tournaments.
After the two teams’ exit in the competitions renowned soccer commentator Charles Nyirenda said both clubs should have beefed up their teams first before registering for such big competitions. ” As I said before,  both clubs took decision to participate in the continental competition impulsively. The evidence was the last minute acquisition of players by Be Forward Wanderers,”
As for Masters, They narrowly escaped relegation owing largely to internal wrangles with players boycotting training,” All these indicated lack of proper planning and I am not surprised that they are out in such an embarrassing way,” he said.
His views were echoed by sports journalist Andrew Chilapondwa who said the teams lost due to their shambolic preparations.
“Success is only achieved by teams that are well prepared. These are the results befitting ill prepared teams. Playing at the continental level is not the same as playing in the local league, “
These teams needed to prepare well; I hope they have learnt something and they will do better next time,” he said.
Malawi football legend and former national team coach Kinnah Phiri blamed the type of football Malawian teams are playing.
“We may blame the boys for not scoring but you also have to count how many passes are going forward and backwards?  You will find that 80 percent of the passes are going backward. The coaches will always tell the players to play the ball back and play it safe. How many times are they going to play it safe and not score? During our time, it was forward ever,” he said.
But what are the teams saying?
Before Masters Security’s departure to Angola, the team’s outspoken owner Alfred Gangata had no kind words for Malawians
“I have no message for Malawians. We are going there to represent ourselves as Masters Security Services and if we loose, no one should dare criticize us because nobody gave us a chance and except for Nyasa Big Bullets, we did not get any help from anyone, not even the government or the corporate world.
After the second leg encounter at BNS, Gangata had little to say.
“Yes we have lost; This was a learning curve and we are no longer the same team, We will definitely do better next time,” he said.
Wanderers team manager Steve Madeira agreed that his team could have done better especially in Congo where they suffered a 4-0 humiliation.
“We have to agree that Vita is a formidable and tactical side with some quality players but our team is equally good. We made a number of mistakes and we have learnt our lessons;  Let me assure our fans that we will do better next time and they should expect good football from us this coming season,” said Madeira.
Meanwhile there is confusion in Wanderers camp as rumors emerging from Lali lubani road indicates that the team is likely to part ways with it’s mentor Yasin Osman. Their veteran striker who helped the team to win the league last season has also resigned following wrangles with another veteran player-midfielder Joseph Kamwendo.
The embarrassing exit of these two Malawian clubs in Caf competitions is a clear indication that Malawi football is in the ICU and administrators need to accept that. Denying this fact will not help anything.They need to work up from their deep slumber and do something to save the beautiful game.