The number of Malawian players plying their trade in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League has taken a downward spiral as only four players remain in the elite league.
The 2020/21 PSL kicks-off today and only Gabadinho Mhango, Limbikani Mzava, Richard Mbulu and Gerald Phiri Jnr will play in the PSL as their three compatriots have left the league on different grounds.
Last season Malawi had seven players in the league but the number has reduced after Chembezi Dennis and Khuda Muyaba’s Polokwane City were relegated to the National First Division.
The retirement of veteran midfielder Robert Ng’ambi from active football has also contributed to the setback. Ng’ambi formerly of Black Leopards announced his retirement last week.
PSL is considered as one of the best six leagues on the continent and some believe it is a gateway to European market.
Former Flames attacker Jimmy Zakazaka and ex- Football Association of Malawi (Fam) acting General Secretary George Kaudza Masina described the development as worrisome.
Zakazaka said the situation could affect the performance of the national team as most local players improve their game by participating in one of the best leagues in Africa.
“This will work to our disadvantage when it comes to the national team. When you have players in the PSL they gain experience, confidence and it poses as a threat to your opponents,” he said.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers player challenged up-and-coming players to prove their prowess and pass the PSL grade.
On his part, Masina concurred with Zakazaka saying it was unfortunate that the country will have four players in the PSL this season.
“This is not good for our national team as foreign based players make a significant impact on our team. Let’s hope that once the international transfer reopens and our [league] is in session, the numbers might increase. Otherwise countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe have become more attractive to PSL clubs unlike the way it was before when Malawian players were a household name,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mhango will kick off the 2020/21 season campaign when his side, Orlando Pirates, faces AmaZulu where his compatriot Limbikani Mzava is hoping for his debut. The two sides will meet at Jposson Kings Stadium.
Mhango, who jointly won last season’s golden boot award with Peter Shalulile, is hoping for a good start.
“I am ready to help my club to win trophies this season,” said the former Nyasa Big Bul lets forward.
Mzava, who has signed a two year deal with AmaZulu popularly known as Usuthu, said he was looking forward to the new challenge.
“I am new here [AmaZulu] but I know the club expects good results. I will work hard to help the team to win matches,” he said.
In another clash set for this afternoon, Baroka FC will likely feature Flames duo Phiri Jnr and Mbulu in their opening match against Maritzburg United at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.