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Players’ attitude irks Mtawali again

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FLAMES coach Ernest Mtawali has once again slammed the attitude of his squad’s most experienced members towards games involving seemingly ‘weak’ opposition.

Mtawali said this on Wednesday evening after seasoned players such as Robert Ng’ambi, Chimango Kayira, Chiukepo Msowoya and John ‘CJ” Banda put up half-hearted displays during a practice match they drew 2-2 against Mbombela United in South Africa.

“There are some strange things I noticed during the game. Somewhere, we lost focus. CJ, Chiukepo and Chimango did not have their normal games. My message is that even the experienced guys must work hard to get into the playing squad. Nothing is guaranteed.

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We have to change attitude. There is no friendly game in the world of football. We have to fight in every game,” Mtawali warned.

While admitting that time was not on his side to work on the players’ mentality before the Swaziland game, he believes he can do something to arrest the weakness, including sloppy defending.

In a separate interview, Banda admitted that he needed to step up his performance as he was uncertain of a starting XI berth in Sunday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier in Swaziland.

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Mtawali also complained about his experienced charges’ attitude last week during another warm-up against Airtel Rising Stars’ select side that lost 2-1 at the Kamuzu Stadium.

The coach must be concerned that the team is unable to keep clean sheets having succumbed two penalties against the South African First Division team on Wednesday.

Flames, who anchor the group, proceed to Swaziland today ahead of the must-win. Swaziland and Zimbabwe, who beat Malawi 2-1 in June, top the group. Only group winners are guaranteed Nations Cup qualification.

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