Malawi National Football Team Coach Meck Mwase has thrown his weight behind Scotland-based defender Kieran Ngwenya, saying the youngster is a perfect addition to the Flames.
The Aberdeen FC left back made his Flames debut on Sunday, when the senior side lost to Tanzania’s Taifa Stars 2-0 in an international friendly at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Mwase, who missed the game after testing positive for coronavirus, said the Glasgow-born defender had secured a place in the national team.
“Ngwenya is a tough defender who has a brilliant football brain both on and off the pitch. He is powerful, pacy and makes the right judgements. He is giving us an option and he will give tough competition to Precious Sambani, whom we have been relying on,” Mwase said this having followed the team’s performance through other platforms.
Following Ngwenya’s impressive debut, Mwase said he could deploy Sambani in an advanced role as an attacking winger as the Nyasa Big Bullets player was gifted and flexible. “Sambani is another talented player who can also switch and play in different positions especially as a winger. This is the more reason we need more competition in the team. We will continue scouting for players of Malawian origin overseas,” he said. Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu was equally impressed with Ngwenya’s performance. “What a debut performance at such a tender age of 18 years. He is an asset to the Flames. He gelled with the team very well just like fish in the water. He was in the spotlight. We are glad that he has lived up to our expectations and he did not disappoint,” he said.
Nyamilandu said the association was open to players who want to play for the Flames. “We are happy to hear that the national team coach is happy with Ngwenya’s performance. The team needs depth as we prepare for other games including World Cup qualifiers and Africa Cup of Nations finals,” he said. Ngwenya joined Aberdeen Under 18 from Tynecastle Colts in 2019 and has risen through the team’s ranks. During the 2020/2021 season, he was part of the match day squad on 12 occasions. He made two appearances in the Scottish Premiership and on both occasions came on as a substitute against Ross City.
The development comes as a relief to the nation after previous experiences ended in disappointment. Local football authorities have in the past failed to approach the likes of Henri Kumwenda (then Hull City), Stephen Marashi (retired at Yanga), Lesedi Kapinga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Gilbert Mapemba (ex- Moroka Swallows) and Benjamin Mwaruwari.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.