By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Stars largely depended on home games to survive the chop in the 2018 season, with the 2-0 victory over Blue Eagles being their only away win throughout the campaign.
Head Coach for the Kasungu-based side, Meke Mwase, said he has devised a plan to ensure that his charges collect more points in away matches once the new season kicks off.
“It was a good season for us considering that we were coming from the lower league. Moving forward, we are focusing on improving our away record, which was terrible in the just-ended season,” Mwase said.
The former Flames captain is also in charge of the Malawi under-23 and under-20 but does not believe that his involvement with the two national teams contributed to Stars’ struggles.
“It all depends on planning. As a team, we sat down to plan each time Football Association of Malawi called me to take charge of national teams. I would sit down with my fellow coaches at the team to strategise on the right approaches to games in my absence. So my involvement with national teams cannot be the reason for our struggles,” Mwase added.
Stars finished the season on position nine with 36 points and were one of the league’s relegation candidates.
Almost all teams whose coaches were attached to national teams struggled in the 2018 season.
Eagles, whose coach DeKlerk Msakakuona heads the Malawi under-17 national football team, finished outside the top 8 to miss out on the chance to defend the Airtel Top 8 Cup which they won in June last year courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Nyasa Big Bullets.
In Msakakuona’s absence, Christopher Sibale used to take charge but the team struggled in most games and was almost relegated.
Moyale Barracks, who contributed Charles Kamanga to the under-23, also endured a difficult campaign in the just-ended season as they finished on position 13 with 35 points.
Civil Sporting Club also contribute Franco Ndawa to the national team and finished on position five on the log table, just outside the paid ranks of the top flight league.
Former Civil and Silver Strikers coach, Thom Mkorongo, admitted that it is not easy to mix club and national team commitments.
“The concentration of the attached coaches is normally affected if national teams have several games in a season. But, with proper planning, it is possible to mix the two roles,” Mkorongo, who once served as assistant to former Flames coach Steven Constantine, said.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues