The return of Malawian clubs—Be Forward Wanderers and Masters Security FC—to continental competitions, three years after Nyasa Big Bullets’ half-hearted attempt of the same, is good news for local football.
For starters, Wanderers were drawn against Congolese team, AS Vita, in the Caf Champions League whereas Masters make their debut in the Confederations Cup when lining up against Angola’s Petro de Luanda. Preliminary round matches are scheduled for February.
There is no question that Wanderers have the depth in coaching and playing personal that is good enough for them to give a good account of themselves on the international platform.
Indeed, local clubs’ failure to test themselves against foreign opposition has contributed to the Flames’ downfall.
It is also good news that Football Association of Malawi has asked for a bond from the two clubs and that the association is helping them prepare budgets and other logistics for their assignments.
It is clear that continental football not only affords players experience (Wanderers should prepare for hostile reception in the Democratic Republic of Congo), but also off the pitch, administrators learn one or two things.
However, I have reservations on Masters’ flirtation with continental football at this stage when they barely survived TNM Super League relegation.
I am not quite sure about their financial muscle but what they have done, while commendable, is a gamble that might in the end leave the whole country with egg all over face.
But then Masters have always done things their own strange way.
A combination of green and red is not the enviable colour combo for fashionistas and those conscious of their dressing, but then when it comes to doing it their own way single-mindedly, no football team can match Masters Security FC on the domestic front.
Masters Security never ceases to amaze me. In the pre-season, they caused a storm when they invaded the market with a blank cheque book, threatening to sign any star player who was willing to gamble their career on a rookie of a club.
The likes of Wyson Nkana, Patience Kalumo, Simplex Nthala, Robin Ngalande, Bester Phiri and Enala Banda fell head over heels with the new man in town that was Masters.
And boy, even Joseph Kamwendo nearly made a shock move to the new masters of the Super League.
Here was a team that had just been promoted from the Premier Division of Chipuku Central Region Football Association to the Super League—within the blink of an eye.
Soon reports started emerging that Masters were struggling to pay their players. Nthala dumped ship and Ngalande found a new lease of life in South Africa at Baroka FC.
Under Coach Benjamin Kumwenda, Master Security found the Super League terrain so slippery. Club owner Alfred Gangata lost his patience with Kumwenda who soon was shown the revolving exit door.
In came Abbas Makawa who effortelessly steadied the ship and ensured survival in the Super League.
We now wait for the time when Masters’ limitless ambition takes them to continental football. I am scared and happy for both teams.
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