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Young Chimodzi’s homecoming

The football family should be worried with the state of affairs at Area 47 where the fast-revolving door has thrown out Stan Chirwa and opened for Young Chimodzi.

Silver Strikers are out of Carlsberg Cup after an embarrassing 3-0 hammering by Big Bullets on Saturday and TNM Super League championship dream is remote. The uninspiring results led to Chirwa’s exit on Wednesday.

Silver finished the first round of the league on eighth position with 20 points broken down to two draws, six defeats—the same as the Bankers lost the whole of last season— and six wins while finishing 12 points behind leaders Bullets.

Not that Chirwa was entirely to blame for the dismal form though. The problems at Siver are, in the admission of his temporary successor Chimodzi, far much bigger than the coach. Unfortunately, the buck tends to stop on coaches in Malawi.

Yes, so bad have been Silver’s displays of late that when they lost to Bullets on Saturday one could not help but compare with the Bankers’ reserve side that played better against the Peoples Team at the same venue in the early stages of the same competition recently.

That is how bad the state of affairs is for Silver.

After the reserve team match last month in which they lost 3-0, Silver senior striker Rodrick Gonani admitted that “I am impressed. I thought they would lose by a bigger margin.”

Football technocrats insist that coaches should not only be judged by results, but by how their teams play. Sadly while Chirwa might not shoulder the biggest blame for the dip in form, the brutal reality is that his charges have been uninspiring on both fronts.

And sensing probably that his days were numbered, Chirwa insisted on Saturday that he was not afraid of the axe as “I was employed. I am not a life coach. Well, in football coaches get fired. If they decide to fire me, well and good.”

Chirwa exited after Silver had also lost by a similar score-line in Inter City Trophy the other week and finished the TNM Super League first round with a 1-1 home draw against Fisd Wizards.

On Saturday, if the barely recognisable defence made a comedy of errors including Mike Robert deflecting into his own net a clearance of Jelesi Lufeyo’s free-kick, expensively-bought Victor Limbani looked rigid, slow and sluggish on the ball.

Midfielder Peter Pindani tumbled, passed and turned, but hardly retrieved any ball, let alone shoot on target. Due to work commitment, Pindani has not been playing regularly, but how about the others?

New catches Limbani and striker Tizgobele Kumwenda have not been able to replicate their Bullets form, whereas Ian Banda signed from Chikwawa United is still on a learning curve.

“To be honest, most of the players they have bought are not good enough for a big team like Silver,” a Silver player told Malawi News.

Once valued at K6 million, Ndaziona Chatsalira looked lost in central midfield, where striker Green Harawa played for only the opening five minutes before descending into anonymity.

Experienced number 9 Peter Wadabwa could not just cope with the pace of the physical contest. His bad afternoon became worse when he made a glaring miss with acres of goal mouth at his mercy.

If these under-performing players in Saturday’s game were ironically the most experienced, then nothing much could be expected from the inexperienced ones such as Ian Banda and Wonder Jelemani.

“This season we have missed most of our key players because of cards or injuries. Lucky Malata, Timothy Chitedze and Blessings Tembo were not available. I believe with the squad we had, we should have done better. We didn’t rise to the occasion,” Chirwa insisted.

Stepping in, Chimodzi may soon be confronted by the lack of depth and very demanding fans who expect nothing short of wins.

“I was reluctant, but I eventually accepted because they invested a lot in me as a coach and player,” Chimodzi insisted on Tuesday.

His reluctance is understandable as, upon being pelted while serving as a coach some 13 years ago, Chimodzi vowed never to manage the Bankers again.

They say never say never in football. So, can the stone that the Flames rejected prove to be Silver’s corner stone?

Chimodzi is no miracle worker, but he has a rare ability to instantly bring calm and win the dressing room. Unfortunately, the dressing room is too depleted. The jury is out on Chimodzi’s second homecoming.

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