Malawi national football team head coach says the decision to drop Mighty Wanderers goal keeper Richard Chipuwa had something to do with communication skills in the field of play.
Chipuwa was between the sticks when Malawi played to a 2-all draw away to Swaziland in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier.
But during a press briefing at Chiwembe Technical Centre on Thursday morning where Mtawali was announcing his final 20 man squad for the team’s 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary first leg qualifier against Tanzania next week, Chipuwa’s name was not on the list.
Instead, the Flames mentor selected Mozambican based shot stopper Simplex Nthara and Fisd Wizards’s young star Brighton Munthali for the trip. Mtawali justified the reason behind the decision.
“Look, the last game we played against Swaziland we drew 2-2 despite taking a lead twice. As technical staff, we fill that the team has to get better all the time and with Tanzania coming up, we sat down and decided to bring new players in.”
“Simplex trained with us for seven days and has proved to us that he can communicate with his defenders and at the same time, he can command his defenders. There was no communication between our goalkeeper in Swaziland and his defenders, that’s what we missed but Nthara has proved to us that he can do it,” said Mtawali.
He was quick to refute recent reports that the firing of goalkeeper’s trainer Phillip Nyasulu last week influenced his decision to re-call back Nthara for Chipuwa.
“There is no such a thing. What we lacked in Swaziland was communication between Chipuwa and his defenders. He is not a bad goalkeeper and is still part of the Flames,” he explained.
On his team’s preparations ahead of the match, the mentor said:
“We have been drilling them on the formation which will be used in Tanzania and we worked on shot falls we experienced in Swaziland.”
“We have prepared well for the game. We will take the game to them, holding ball possession and defending with caution. Tanzania is a very good side and we need to be carefull in all sectors on the field of play,” he continued.
He also defended the decision to pick Gabadinho Mhango despite his lengthy absence on the sideline due to injuries.
“He was not playing for the team because of injuries but I was updated by his Bloemfontein Celtic coach who told me that the player is ready for the national team duties because he has been training with the reserve side after recovering from the injuries so I know how he plays and I am very confident that he will fit in well with fellow youngsters,” he concluded.
Malawi will play Tanzania on 7 October at Benjamin Mukapa National Stadium before a return leg on 11 October at Kamuzu Stadium.
The winner will play Algeria in the preliminary second-round qualifier before making it into the group stages.