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Trials or vote of no confidence?

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The concept of players being subjected to trials in foreign land is old-fashioned and

Malawi’s footballers undergo such tests due to domestic football’s lack of exposure, experts have observed.

Recently, Nyasa Big Bullets defender Emmanuel Zoya attended trials at Red Arrows in

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Zambia whereas Silver Strikers’ winger Duncan Nyoni and Miracle Gabeya of Bullets underwent a similar test at HighlandsPark in South Africa.

The three players flopped in the trials. In contrast, clubs in South Africa sign outright foreigners from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Zambia, among others.

Football scout Felix Sapao said clubs now sign players based on statistics and video clips which they collect from full television footage.

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“Without quality television production of our football, our players will have to go through trials. Note that I say quality television production because most software used to acquire these statistics use high definition footage,” Sapao said while referring to football statistics websites such as InStat Scout and WyScout.

Capital Radio top sports journalist, Madalitso Phiri, said the fact that Malawi’s players are subjected to trials is a vote of no confidence in their talent.

“This is mainly due to the fact that our clubs, unlike others on the continent, are not ranked, which in simple terms means that we are almost playing social football.

The second reason, in my opinion, is because of the Flames, whose downward spiral continues with each passing game,” Phiri said.

However, former Football Association of Malawi general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, who now works for Council of Southern Africa Football Associations in South Africa, Friday linked the local players’ trials to lack of certified intermediaries (formerly agents) and managers.

“They prepare DVDs with proper profiles of the players to be sold. These agents negotiate and ensure that a player is bought outright. Moreover, SuperSport television channels that beam leagues for Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda have helped quite a lot as buying clubs are able to watch the players they want easily without using DVDs.

In modern football, trials are supposed to be for young and upand- coming players,” Nyirenda said.

Malawi national football team’s South Africa-based skipper, Limbikani Mzava, on Wednesday admitted that Super League’s lack of exposure on television affects the prospects of Malawian players.

“When I arrived here for the first time, I underwent trials at Bloemfontein Celtic alongside 15 others players. It was not easy. We played among each other and after three days, the coaches said they were impressed with me.

Elsewhere, clubs just watch games on television and when they inquire about you, they know you well,” said Mzava who now plays for Golden Arrows.

True to Mzava’s observations, Kaizer Chiefs invited the then Nyasa Big Bullets’ centre-back Peter Mponda in 2003. Mponda, for all his quality, did not pass the trials.

The same was the case with Zoya, who according to Arrows publicist, Miko Kalimbwe, was not the type of defender they were looking for since he is more of a left-back.

“The quota we had for foreigners was for two strikers, a midfielder and a centre-back.

So, the coaching panel saw it fit to go for a natural centre-back,” Kalimbwe told The Daily Times edition of February 6 2018.

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