By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President Walter Nyamilandu has made a sensational claim that the Flames lost to ‘France Select’ and not Comoros Islands in an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in Moroni on Saturday.
Nyamilandu’s comments come after the Flames missed out on Afcon qualification when they lost 2-1 to a much-improved Comoros, a country with a population of about 500,000 people.
In a message posted on his Twitter account, Nyamilandu, who recently likened the Flames style of play to that of Spanish and European giants Barcelona FC, said Comoros national football team is a France select side.
“In case you don’t know this is not Comoros but France select. None of the players are [were] born in Comoros. They buy citizenship to make a national team. I would never do that. It’s immoral. I have voiced my concerns before and I won’t shy away from denouncing this shameful act,’’ he tweeted.
Nyamilandu, who was recently elected as a Fifa Council member at the expense of South Africa’s Danny Jordaan, said it is time to focus on rebuilding the team.
“We will come out strong and better prepared for the next campaign. This is not an excuse for the loss but motive to enlighten others. Even if Malawi had dual nationality, I wouldn’t buy foreign nationals to play for the Flames. Let’s forge ahead and focus on rebuilding the team,” Nyamilandu tweetted.
However, the Fam boss was not readily available for his comment Sunday.
But the sentiments attracted several comments, with one Qassim Ibn Ahmad disagreeing that the Flames would come back better.
“Malawi team will never come back strong with this attitude my friend, you deserve to have a short stay in jails. When you don’t [have] anything to say please shut up. Comoros team is better than yours even if you were playing against Under-17 you could not beat us. Have a nice day,” replied Ahmad.
Willy Yabwanya Phiri, who failed in his bid to stand against Nyamilandu during the last Fam elections, also disagreed.
“Mr President, let us work on getting our team better than the French lower divisions team-players of Comoro origin. When I watched them play Morocco and barely lost controversially, I knew we would have problems with them,” his message reads.
A local football analyst, Higger Mkandawire, described Nyamilandu’s remarks as a lame excuse.
“We were beaten by a good team which had tactical discipline. When we beat them 1-0 last year, we did not say anything about France; so why talking about it now? Let us focus on our team and find solutions to dwindling football standards in the country,” Mkandawire said.
Meanwhile, Flames Coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) has said despite failing to qualify, the future looks bright for the team.
“Malawians must be proud of this group of players because it has a bright future. Step by step, we are integrating young players into the senior squad. We are building a team which will succeed in the next few years,” RVG said.
Since the Belgian took over in April last year, Malawi has played 19 games, winning two, drawing nine and losing eight.
The Flames are stuck at the bottom of Group B of the qualifiers with four points from five games whereas Comoros are third with five points from the same number of games.
Leaders Morocco have qualified for the finals with one game to spare. Cameroon automatically qualify as hosts.
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