By Williams Gondwa:
After learning bitter lessons early last year when they were booted out of their maiden Caf Confederation Cup campaign, Carlsberg Cup kings Masters Security believe they can make it this time.
One of the lessons the Lilongwe-based side learnt was the use of an experienced technical panel and battle-hardened players to stand the heat against the best clubs on the continent.
Masters are certainly itching to forget the 5-0 drubbing they got at the hands of Angola’s Atletico Petro de Luanda by putting up a better performance.
Masters’ owner Alfred Gangata said he has gone flat out to assemble a squad that can compete against Africa’s best.
Gangata said his first step in preparing for the continental showpiece was to cross the borders in search of expertise in various aspects of the game.
He said the search took him to Zimbabwe where he sought the services of Lazarus Magwaya who will be joining the team as technical director.
“We beefed up the technical panel by hiring former [Nyasa Big] Bullets assistant coach Elia Kananji to deputise Abbas Makawa. But we needed a technical director who knows his stuff and Magwaya is the man,” Gangata said.
The ambitious club owner said he is working with Football Association of Malawi to ensure that they take the right steps in preparing for the competition.
“We have officially approached Fam on the requirements of our participation in the Confederation Cup. The association is aware of whatever we are doing to prepare for the competition. We have taken major steps to prepare well this time, that is why you have seen us taking on board experienced coaches to mentor our boys.
“We are also working towards hiring a new team manager and a general secretary to replace Muhammad Seleman and Zachariah Nyirenda who are now at Sulom [Super League of Malawi]. We are doing everything to ensure that our Confederation Cup campaign Masters may not be the same without captain Francis Mkonda and Nigerian talisman Babatunde Adepoju who moved to Be Forward Wanderers in the current transfer window but Gangata said he has signed four foreign players from the thirteen who underwent two-week trials at the club.”
He declined to mention names of the successful players and only said the four are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana.
Coach Makawa said after assessing and comparing the performance of the foreigners and their Malawian counterparts at the club, he recommended that only four be signed.
“The technical panel assessed them for a couple of weeks and submitted a report to the executive committee. We believe the four players are the right replacements for Babatunde and Mkonda,” Makawa said.
Masters shocked the local football fraternity towards the end of the 2017 season after announcing that they would be competing in the Confederation Cup despite having been in the Super League for just one season.
The team’s performance last season was impressive as it finished fourth in the top flight league and lifted the Carlsberg Cup after defeating giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Wanderers in the semifinals and final, respectively.
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