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Lessons from Turkey

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CONTRASTING FORTUNES—Malawi Under-23 during Turkey tour

Malawi Under-23 National Football Team were expected to return home Friday from Antalya, Turkey where they played two international friendlies.

But there are plenty of lessons from the trip. For starters, while in Turkey, the Junior Flames defeated Kuwait 2-0 in the opening match with goals from Chifundo Mphasi and Innocent Shema.

Then followed an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Togo in the second and last match of the tour.

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It was a comical display from the junior Flames, who were hopeless and clueless against Togo.

Probably, it was one of Malawi’s national football teams’ worst performance in recent years.

The two matches should provide several lessons to the Marian Mario Marinica led technical panel and the entire football fraternity.

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For now, let us not take credit away from the players, but there is no need to celebrate the win over Kuwait, if Fifa ranking is anything to go by.

After all, Kuwait senior national football is ranked 146 in the world, which is 27 places below the Flames. This was an obvious result for the Junior Flames.

In fact, the Junior Flames should blame themselves for scoring just two goals against Kuwait.

The match against Togo, exposed Malawi’s shortfalls in as far developmental football is concerned.

Honestly, the Junior Flames played disjointed football against Togo. The performance against Togo resembles a team from the village without a well-trained coach. Probably, a team from rural parts of the country could have done better.

For the entire match, the team failed to contain the Sparrow Hawks of Togo as Malawi under-23 players were chasing their own shadows. It was strange style of football.

Honestly, Marinica should be told that Malawi is known for free flowing passing game which is sweet to the eye.

If his philosophy is to play ‘boring’ football, then he has no place in local football.

Former Flames midfielder Peterkins Kayira said it was one of the worst performances for Malawi.

“We played without a purpose and we were completely out played. It was boring watching the team. In future, we need to build a team with young players not over aged players,” Kayira said.

According to Marinica his new philosophy includes thinking fast, acting fast and moving fast.

After the loss to Togo, Marinica admitted that his troops struggled.

“They put everything to practice, we learn in the first match. In the second match, it was a big problem because we started wrong and we made two crucial mistakes in the early stages of the game,” the Romanian, who was also in-charge of the Flames at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon said.

But there was good news that five players remained in Turkey for trials.

The players are Nyasa Big Bullets duo Blessings Mpokera and Alick Lungu, Karonga United striker Mphatso Kamanga, Ekwendeni Hammers midfielder Chawanangwa Gumbo and Bangwe All Stars defender Fanizo Mwansambo.

The five players are expected to undergo trials at International Pelican Sports Agency Centre in Istanbul.

While in Turkey, the players are expected to undergo training and also take part in test matches.

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