Limbikani Mzava wants veterans


Malawi national football team Captain, Limbikani Mzava, has joined the bandwagon of those who are lobbying for the recall of veteran players to the Flames.

Mzava on Tuesday said the Flames’ cannot bank on the predominantly inexperienced team when lining up against heavyweights such as Cameroon, Comoros and Morocco in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers from next March.

The Golden Arrows defender said the Flames’ progress was being undermined by experimenting as evidenced by the chopping and changing of players.


“Our next friendly game is at home against Lesotho [on November 11], so there is no harm in recalling all foreign-based players such as Robin Ngalande, Atusaye Nyondo and Tawonga Chimodzi to assess them.

“They should pick all experienced players, including Esau Kanyenda, Chiukepo Msowoya, Peter Wadabwa, Joseph Kamwendo, Fischer Kondowe and Chimango Kayira. Even Moses Chavula is captain at his team in Mozambique but, in Malawi, we say ‘he is old’,” he said.

Mzava cited countries such as Burkina Faso who still feature veterans, including blonde-haired veteran striker Aristide Bance.


“They need to be serious. When I was young, I came from the under-17, under-20 then the under-23 and not straight to the senior team, because international football is a different ball-game.

“Bring the veterans so that the youngsters can learn from them. When I was young, they used to call me up and drop me, but I never dropped my head because I knew that I was learning from the likes of Allan Kamanga, James Sangala and Elvis Kafoteka,” he said.

Mzava’s remarks come a month after Nyasa Big Bullets winger Kondowe and his Be Forward Wanderers’ counterpart Kanyenda said they deserve a place in the senior team.

Kondowe, who accused the Flames Coach, Ronny van Geneugden, and his backroom team of running the national team as their personal effect, yesterday welcomed Mzava’s call.

“Yes, I had my time with the national team but this thing that I cannot offer anything new is all about the negativity which we are obsessed with in this country. Ideas can run out but time never end, so let us put the interest of the nation first,” he said.

Van Geneugden yesterday said he was determined to continue with his rebuilding project by focusing on the group of players he started off with in April when he was hired.

“Of course, we are watching many games that give us an opportunity to call in camp extra players. It is not about age but whether one can inject something extra into the team and also fit in our game-plan.

“There are five months to go before we play Morocco and 11 months before we meet Cameroon, so it is too early for me to mention individuals I will pick for the team. However, you can be certain that there will be extra players called into camp,” the Belgian said.

Kanyenda, Kondowe and Kamwendo were part of the Flames squad that qualified for the 2010 Afcon finals in Angola, but most of their contemporaries such as Emmanuel ‘Tico-Tico’ Bucuane (Mozambique), Dispy Selolwane (Botswana), Chris Katongo, Collins Mbesuma and Francis Chansa (Zambia), Tinashe Negomasha (Zimbabwe), Flavio (Angola), Didier Drogba and Didier Zokora (Cote d’Ivoire) are no longer playing for their national teams.

Recently, Zambia Coach, Wedson Nyirenda, dropped veterans such as Rainford Kabala and drafted into the team under-20 graduates such as Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala.

However, Kennedy Mweene and Stoppila Sunzu are still regulars for the Chipolopolo because they are playing at the highest level in South Africa (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Russia (FC Arsenal not the Gunners), respectively.

Kanyenda (nine league goals in 11 games) and Msowoya (seven goals in 19 games), returned home after being released by South Africa’s Polokwane City and Arrows, respectively, having failed to score in the entire 2016 season.

Kamwendo also struggled for game-time at TP Mazembe in the Democratic Republic of Congo before rejoining Wanderers via Liga Desportivo of Mozambique.

In South Africa, Nyondo scored twice last season in all competitions for Blomfontein Celtic, and has scored once in eight games this season. Ngalande is struggling for game-time at Baroka FC.

Former Wanderers official, Ernest Maganga, thrashed calls for the come-back of the veterans, saying their contribution to the game should be limited to the Super League, arguing that “you cannot expect a 44-year-old” to offer anything new to the Flames.

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