Humiliating score-lines that Malawi’s flag carriers in CAF competitions, Masters Security and Be Forward Wanderers, succumbed to last week are a reflection of how the country’s football stands against that of other nations across Africa, it has been argued.
Collectively, the two teams conceded 9 goals in their away fixtures with Masters Security losing 0-5 against Petro de Luanda of Angola on Saturday before Wanderers were hit for four against AS Vita Club of Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.
Masters await to capitalize on the home ground advantage on Tuesday before the Nomads also host AS Vita Club on Wednesday at the same venue, the magnificent Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
But the results have only exposed the gulf that exists between Malawi and other African nations, sports journalist working with Yoneco Radio Joy Khakona has said.
He told Malawi24 in an interview earlier this week that the gaps do not only range from the failure to fully prepare on the part of the teams but also lack of extensive and massive sponsorship of the game of football in Malawi.
‘’If we look at the investment that is put in sponsoring a team from our counterparts we could see that football means business to them. Even sponsorship of their leagues is obscenely lucrative and cannot match ours here,” Kakhona said.
Ironically, before their departure the two teams had what could be christened as embarrassing endeavours.
Masters Security had some terrible problems with their flights as they were forced to travel in two cohorts as they had, according to varying media reports, not settled payments to do with visas of some players.
On their part, Tnm Super League champions Be Forward Wanderers have been said to have borrowed huge sums of money just to meet costs they were faced with in the advent of the trip to Kinshasha.
Prior to this the Nomads – whose sponsors are second hand car dealer Be Forward – announced they were pulling out of the competition before an abrupt U-turn on the same matter was made owing to what was said to be financial constraints.
But where might have the two teams gotten it all wrong?
‘’They lacked tactical approaches that go with elite competition. Our colleagues have what we can call spy missions teams that go around the continent to research on opponents on their coming fixtures. We do not have it here,’’ he said.
The Zomba based reporter added: “The formation our teams used left a lot to be desired. They could defuse attacks from the wings. What was needed there was to use players who could match the speed of the opponents.’’
Kakhona was also of the view that on the part of the Nomads, they had deceitful strength testing matches.
During their preparations, Nomads won against Bullets, Mangochi Select and lost to Mozambican side Songo.
For the case of the Bullets match, the People’s Team only regrouped to play their arch-rivals as the Nomads prepared for the continental showpiece.
However, Kakhona remains upbeat the two sides could overturn the tables in the return legs but was quick to admit that ‘the damage was all but done to the Malawi CAF Ambassadors’.
‘’The two teams need to ring changes to their squads having seen tactics deployed by their opponents in the first legs’,’ said Kakhona.
The Nomads are reigning Malawi Super League champions while Masters Security left it late to survive what was deemed to be a probable relegation smell from the Tnm Super League.