Malawi National Football Team interim coach, Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan, kick-started his one-month reign on Monday by unveiling an experienced 27-member squad that represents a paradigm shift from his erstwhile boss, Ernest Mtawali.
The Flames are readying to host Swaziland on September 3 in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier that is academic, but in the larger scheme of things, provides Ramadhan and his backroom team an audition for permanent jobs.
“We do not have a chance of qualifying but there is pride at stake. Malawians have cried alot due to poor results. There are also world rankings and our sponsorship from Carlsberg Malawi Limited at stake,” Ramadhan, sounding politically correct, told the press at Mpira Village in Blantyre.
While the relatively inexperienced Mtawali talked religiously about rebuilding, emphasised on the youth and experimented freely, Ramadhan’s vocabulary in his
first press conference had some inuendo.
“You need to have a base. You cannot keep on changing your squad. If you talk about Ivory Coast, you know Yaya Toure will be there. I do not have pressure at all. I am a veteran with 29 years of coaching experience. I have been hired and fired many times,” said the former celebrated Nyasa Big Bullets coach originally from Burundi.
“I am not rebuilding. If I fail I will not give an excuse that I was rebuilding. I have no time to train the team but to focus on the combinations. I have called a squad to win the game. Of course, I am interested in the job. If offered, who can say no? If you are in secondary school, the aim is always to go to the university.”
Ramadhan recalled players which Mtawali dropped, including Chimango Kayira (Costa do Sol, Mozambique), Micium Mhone (Jomo Cosmos, South Africa) and Robert Ng’ambi (Platinum Stars, South Africa).
Silver Strikers’ defender Lucky Malata, Steve Chagoma of Blue Eagles, striker Gastin Simkonda from Moyale Barracks and Red Lions’ holding midfielder Chikoti Chirwa are also back having worked under former coaches Kinnah Phiri and Young Chimodzi.
And there was an explanation for the surprise exclusion of free-scoring Mafco forward Richard Mbulu, Nyasa Big Bullets’ Muhammad Sulumba and former Flames captain, Joseph Kamwendo, who plays for Liga Desportivo Maputo in Mozambique.
“Mbulu is good. I have watched him. He has some areas he needs to work on. He does not fit in my plan now. Please respect my decision; our decision,” Ramadhan said.
The coach also made interesting inclusions of Silver’s winger Thuso Paipi, striker Matthew Sibale, Eagles midfielder Gilbert Chirwa and striker Maxwell Salambula.
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