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Stop changing Flames’ squad

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Malawi national football team Captain, Limbikani Mzava, has advised Coach Ronny van Geneudgen-led coaching panel against changing players in every call-up, saying this undermines the Flames’ stability.

Mzava was commenting on the latest Fifa/Coca-Cola World Rankings, released on Thursday, indicating that the Flames are static on position 124 out of 206 national team in the world.

“We are still performing miserably on Fifa rankings, and this should be a concern to the nation. As a leader of the team, I am very worried.

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I have observed that we are changing the team too much. I am pleading with our coach to change this type of player selection.

“This is not the time for us to continue bringing in new players in the team. Let those of us who are part of team play together for some time and see how best we can do in the next three years,” Mzava said yesterday in a telephone interview from his base in South Africa.

The Golden Arrows defender said time has come for the coaching panel to select players who can play together for a long time and develop a tactical understanding.

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Mzava cited an example of the team that qualified for 2010 African Cup of Nation finals in Angola under the mentorship of Kinnah Phiri, as having played together for many years. “We are changing players for every call-up. Every time I come to join the team, I find new players, so how are we going to build a team?

“We need to have players that can play in all competitions together, not what we are doing now. We send new players to every competition,” Mzava said.

The former player for the now defunct Escom United also questioned the fitness levels of some of the national team’s players.

He added that Kinnah succeeded because he emphasised on fitness; hence, the team was able to overcome teams such as Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea.

In reaction, Flames standin Team Manager, Aubrey Nankhuni, said Mzava’s opinion was in line with RVG’s vision.

Nankhuni said the Flames coach has been assessing all players who are eligible to feature for the team.

“He has invited every player who is capable of playing for the national team. Now he has an idea of how they play. We have assembled players that can play for the Flames in the next six years.

What he [Mzava] is saying is true, and we are heading in the same direction,” Nankhuni said.

Football Association of Malawi Marketing and Commercial Director, Limbani

Matola, observed that the team’s poor performance affects the association’s marketing endeavours.

“Save for Gabadinho Mhango, we don’t have brands in the team. We need our players to jack up and make a name so as to sell the Flames because the national team is the pride of the nation,” Matola said. The Flames will play against Uganda in a friendly next month.

Since taking over the reign in April, van Geneugden has featured in the starting line up and dropped players such as Muhammad Sulumba, Joseph Kamwendo, Chimango Kayira, Dave Banda, Lemani Nthala, Harvey Mkacha, Lucky Malata,

Francis Mlimbika, Kelvin Hanganda, Yamikani Chester, Innocent Bokosi, Binwell Katinji and Simeon Singa.

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