The market share for Malawian players in South Africa’s top flight league DStv Premiership is slowly shrinking with Flames striker Frank Gabadinho Mhango the only survivor.
Over the years, the number of players plying their trade in the Premiership has been declining with a good number of Malawian players, now club hunting or playing in the lower tier league.
The offloading of Flames captain Limbikani Mzava at Amazulu and Richard Mbulu’s exit at Golden Arrows summed up Malawi’s poor football standards.
Gabadinho, who joined Amazulu from Orlando Pirates, is the only player from Malawi in the top league.
In an interview yesterday, Mbulu, who was linked with a move to Golden Arrows after he was released by Baroka FC, said he was not in a hurry.
“I am back to work in Malawi. At the moment, I do not have a team,” Mbulu said.
Mbulu was released at the end of his contract after Baroka were relegated last season.
On his part, Mzava who was surplus to requirements at Amazulu, said he was hunting for a club.
“Nothing concrete at the moment. I will let you know once something happens,” Mzava said.
To make matters worse, Flames striker Khuda Muyaba, Mike Mkwate and Rafik Namwera are the only Malawian players in the second-tier league in South Africa–Glad Africa Championship.
However, Mkwate’s future at Polokwane hangs in limbo as his former side Nyasa Big Bullets expressed interest to sign him back either on loan or permanent contract.
In total, there are only four recognised players in South Africa.
This is sharp drop as country. In 2011/12 season, Malawi had 16 players in the Premier ship Soccer League including the likes of Robert Ng’ambi, Joseph Kamwendo, Bernard Harawa and Moses Chavula among others.
Probably, this could mean a bad signal that Malawi’s football is steadily declining.
Some countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique have more players in the South Africa top league.
In the going transfer window, there were no serious offers targeting Malawian players.
A football scout, Ben Chiwaya said there was a need to focus much on development of the players.
“If we can improve our development structures in both clubs and national teams we will be able to export more players.
“There are a lot of things which we look at when scouting and it includes age, behaviour both on and off the pitch. The market is so huge and Malawi has a lot of hidden talent. Let us not focus on already products and ignore the youth,” Chiwaya said.
However, Chavula, a former Flames defender, attributed the decline to Malawi’s poor performance at the Cosafa Cup in recent years.
“Malawi players have failed to live up to their expectations when they get deals with PSL teams. In addition, some players fail to impress during the Cosafa Cup,” Chavula, who played for Nathi Lions in South Africa, said.
However, recently some Malawian players signed for European teams with Charles Petro and Francisco Madinga plying their trade in Moldova and Georgia respectively.
Flames midfielder Peter Banda went to Moldova before moving to Tanzanian outfit Simba SC whereas Lawrence Chaziya plays in Jordan, Asia.
To date, there are also few Malawi players in Mozambique.
Flames vice-captain John Banda is the only national team player in Mozambique whereas Bright Munthali, Chimango Kaira and Mathews Sibale are some of the Malawian players plying their trade in that country.