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Let the youngsters play, do not pressure them

Admittedly, the Flames failed to display a vintage performance during the first leg of the Fifa World Cup African qualifying preliminary round in Tanzania on Wednesday when they went down 0-2 to Taifa Stars.

Soccer pundits have pointed out several weaknesses that led to the team’s poor show in Dar-es -Salaam. Obviously, there was a complete breakdown in defence that gifted the Tanzanians two goals.

It is obvious that the Flames face an uphill task to overcome the two-goal deficit and qualify for the next stage to date Algeria.

Having watched rejuvenated Tanzania forcing a goalless draw against Nigeria last month in the Africa Nations Cup qualifying round, it was not surprising that they managed to beat youthful Malawi.

Tanzanians have been undergoing a serious rebuilding exercise and it is not surprising that they have started yielding results.

I have no qualms with the selection of the Flames players by head coach, Ernest Mtawali and his assistant, Nsanzwirimo Ramadhan. For the first time, we have seen that the Flames are indeed serious with the rebuilding exercise. Not that lip service from those recycled coaches.

Brave Mtawali featured a team whose average age was estimated at 24. I liked seeing a team comprising youthful Robin Ngalande, Chawanangwa Kawonga, Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango, Gerald Phiri Jnr, Micium Mhone, John Banda, Isaac Kaliyati, Miracle Gabeya and Stanley Sanudi on display.

This is Malawi’s future team and it will be ridiculous for any sane Malawians to pressure the coach to disband it and revert to those old tired legs.

It is better that Mtawali loses with these youngsters than those old tired legs. There was need to reshuffle that team.

Mtawali should not act under any external sanctions to disband this team. We owe our future success in football to this youthful team. There is no short cut to success.

I vividly recall that when the Peter Mpondas, Macdonald Yobe, Fischer Kondowe and James Chimera Jnr were being fused into the main team, there was resistance from the public, but it later paid dividends.

This is a turning point of Malawi football. For now, Malawians must persevere by going to the games to watch the progress of the new look team instead of looking for victory. Success cannot come without investing in the team first.

With or without those so-called experienced players, the nation has achieved nothing. What is the rationale of trusting the legs of a 39-year-old player in this day and age when most of the teams are rebuilding?

No-one should give these youngsters unnecessary pressure; give them space to play their football. At this stage winning games is a bonus. Period!

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