By Mabvuto Kambuwe & Peter Fote
Some soccer analysts have questioned the composition of the Flames provisional squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals to be staged in Cameroon next month.
Newly appointed Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Technical Director Marian Mario Marinica named a 34-member squad of local players who regrouped yesterday at Mpira Village in Blantyre.
However, some soccer analysts said it was clear that Marinica was experimenting at a wrong time.
Some are of the view that the squad demonstrates that the technical panel was working under pressure and without direction.
Additionally, the analysts said the inclusion of inexperienced players in the provisional squad was suicidal and recipe for disaster ahead of the finals.
Marinica has given maiden call ups to Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve goalkeeper Clever Mkungula, Rumphi United goalkeeper Innocent Nyasulu, Mafco defender Notchard Chimbalanga, Robert Saizi of Play Football Academy, Andrew Lameck of Bangwe All Stars.
Mzuzu Warriors defender Kelvin Kazinje and Karonga United striker Mphatso Kamanga. Bullets Reserve duo Innocent Msowoya and David Daud are also in the squad.
However, Marinica justified his selection saying some of the players have been earmarked for Championship of Africa Nations (Chan) qualifiers next year, apart from the Afcon finals.
He also appealed for patience from the football fraternity.
“I have not fully started implementing my plans; so, let us not have high expectations at the Afcon finals. It might take time to put things in place and start reaping the fruits. Indeed, I mentioned of considering tall players and you will see that part of this squad has some of the components. We will all get there,” the Romanian said.
Three goalkeepers namely Richard Chipuwa, Ernest Kakhobwe and Brighton Munthali have been included in the squad.
However, despite the inclusion of uncapped players, in-form Silver Strikers goalkeeper Charles Thom and Blue Eagles goalkeeper John Soko have been overlooked.
Sports analyst George Kaudza- Masina said the call up leaves a lot to be desired.
“The team is preparing for a big tournament and you call up players from Reserve teams and academies who fit for Under-20 national team. The thinking of the TD and the entire technical panel and the leadership at Chiwembe [Fam] does not bring confidence to the nation,” he said.
Another sports analyst George Chiusiwa said it was slap in the face of Malawi football.
“Fam is surely preparing for a football disaster in Cameroon. These trials and experiments can’t be carried out barely a month before the kick-off of Afcon. The action of the FA here is indicative of its lack of strategic technical planning and decision making to shape and mould the team better,” Chiusiwa said.