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No room for our pampered passengers

Though there are certain people who still believe that the so-called senior players who were dropped from the Flames squad could have made a difference during the first leg of the Africa Nations Cup qualifier in Swaziland last weekend, I beg to differ.

There have been a lot of hullabaloos after the Flames drew 2-2 in Mbabane to collect a single point from two games. Malawi lost the first game at home 2-1 to Zimbabwe, a game which had the majority of the so-called senior players.

Fam spent K105 million preparing for the Zimbabwe match. The team played several strength-testing matches, including against Egypt, but in the end the so-called senior players decided to pay us back with a loss.

That is the loss that derailed our chances of qualifying for the Gabon finals and it would take a miracle for us to recover.

It is a cardinal rule in football that at home, you must not lose a match and no wonder we had to fire coach Young Chimodzi after he failed to get our campaign to a flying start with a victory.

Of course, after dropping some of the so-called senior players who have been idle in their respective foreign leagues, some thought coaches, Ernest Mtawali and his assistant Nsazwirimo Ramadhan, gambled. But I repeat, I beg to differ.

It was going to be suicidal to use players who were inactive and sideline the up-and-coming players like Gerald Phiri Jnr, Stanley Sanudi and John Banda who are active in their leagues.

After all, Mtawali said it crystal clear that the door is not shut for the senior players; they must prove their prowess to play for the Flames.

People and players should not give unnecessary pressure to the coaches after all this is the time for them to start preparing for the 2019 Africa Nations Cup team.

When Mtawali mentioned Chiukepo Msowoya as one of the players who did not perform to the expected standard during a friendly game in South Africa, he proved the coach wrong by scoring in Swaziland. That is the spirit of a professional player.

It must be emphasized that no one is guaranteed a place in the Flames. This is the attitude that has been destroying Malawi football. Coaches must pick players on merit.

Coming back with a point from Swaziland is no mean achievement. Lest we forget that it is the same Swaziland that caused untold misery on Guinea after they played them in a neutral venue in Casablanca, Morocco. And the team also had a good run at the just ended Cosafa Cup

In modern football, there are no underdogs and places are not guaranteed in the team. No wonder, Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh had to do without Mikel Obi and a few other pampered passengers.

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