Malawi national football team wind up year 2015 without— save for the Cosafa Cup Plate Division trophy—worthwhile silverware, but the statistics suggest there is comparative progress under coach Ernest Mtawali.
During the year, statistics sourced from United Kingdom-based Malawian football statistician, Mario Antoine, indicate that the Flames played 16 games and registered a miserable six wins.
The 16 games are split into eight each for Mtawali and his predecessor, Young Chimodzi.
Chimodzi ended his reign in July with two wins, two draws and four loses representing 12.5 percent, compared to 50 percent success rate for Mtawali’s four wins, one draw and three losses in all competitions.
Mtawali’s wins include one in a friendly game and three in competitive games, whereas Chimodzi’s two wins were all from competitive matches.
“There were two different coaches, each in charge of eight games. 47 players represented their country during the year, of which 20 made their debuts. 14 players who featured in 2014 were not recalled this year,” indicates Antoine’s report.
“This brought their total number of games to 16, which is the ninth joint highest turn of fixtures played during a year, six short of the most played in 1989. A milestone in the last fixture was also recorded as they played their 600th fixture, dating back to their first game in 1962.”
The struggles are evidenced by the fact that this year, Malawi dropped by 21 places on Fifa Coca-Cola world ranking from 88th to 109th between January and December. In Africa, the Flames also slipped by five steps from 25th to 30th.
Mtawali, who introduced most of the 20 debutants during the year, on Thursday said he is now through with the experimenting, saying his aim was to give exposure to a wide pool of players.
“I have given players a chance as we are rebuilding for the future. We have seen that some players can only do well at club level and not the national team. It is important to give all players a chance,” Mtawali said.
Recently, veteran football coach Yasin Osman said while Mtawali’s experimentation on the youth is good for the future, there is need to strike a balance between new and experienced players.
Mtawali on Thursday reiterated that the door is open for all players, including the experienced players.