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Theory of ping-pong football

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Azam Tigers coach, Gerald Phiri senior and Be Forward Wanderers’ Team Manager, Steve Madeira, must have been reading the same ping-pong football scrip over the weekend.

Phiri and Madeira, separately, accused their opponents, Red Lions and Dwangwa United, of deploying anti-football tactics— loosely referred to as ping-pong— during TNM Super League games played over the weekend.

After losing 1-2 to Mafco and playing out a goalless draw against Dwangwa United on Saturday and Sunday, respectively at Chitowe Stadium, Madeira slammed their opponents of using primitive football styles.

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“We came here to play football but our opponents were not playing football,” Madeira claimed on Sunday.

The away result saw Wanderers lose their grip of their hunt for their first Super League title since 2006. The Nomads have 29 points from 19 games while lying eighth on the table. Mafco lead the table with 37 points also from 19 games.

Mafco coach, Thomas Maloya, yesterday admitted that they opted not to compete with Wanderers pound-by-pound but to stifle them.

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“You need to be strategic depending on opposition. We knew that Wanderers like to play passing football and our game-plan was to stop them from doing that in our half but only in their half,” Maloya said.

In Blantyre, Phiri reacted to a 1-0 loss to Lions by accusing the soldiers of using similar suffocating football tactics.

“It was ping-pong. They were just playing long balls. May be it was their strategy to stop us from playing, but that is not football,” Phiri told the media in a post-match interview.

Lions moved from 14th to 11th position with 19 points from 19 games whereas the ninth-positioned Tigers have 29 points from 20 games.

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