Cameroon’s Afcon’s triumph, a shame to Malawi: how long does it take to build a team?

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Sir Alex Ferguson will say 7 years. After being appointed Manchester United manager in 1986, he fought relegation and only delivered the league in 1993.

Cameroon will probably tell you it can take 3 years. Huge Broos’ of Cameroon oversaw a revolution after eight of its star players, plying their trade in European leagues, refused a call up to the squad, eventually forcing the Belgian to call a very youthful squad for the just ended African Cup of Nations (Afcon) and to the surprise of many, the Indomitable Lions defied the odds to clinch Africa’s greatest prize after beating Egypt 2-1 in Gabon last night.

For the past years, soccer loving Malawians have been told to wait a little bit longer for the Malawi National Football team to start delivering saying the team is in a rebuilding exercise.

Flames

The Flames can draw lessons fro Cameroon.

The question is, how long does it take to build a team? At the just ended Afcon, teams such as Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso used very youthful squads, young and energetic boys who, despite not all winning the trophy, looked hungry for success.

But that’s not the case with our beloved national team. Year in, year out, same old story keeps ringing in our ears, begging us to remain patient.

But for how long are we going to keep on waiting in vain for a better result yet signs of improvement are not there?

Coaches, both local and foreign, have come and gone but nothing has changed, who is to blame? What can be done in order to complete this ‘never ending rebuilding exercise’?

Under normal circumstance, a country’s Football Association ensures the completion of any rebuilding exercise by putting in place structures that will make the dream a reality.

But do we have structures in Malawi? Normally, other associations focus much on developing talent through the junior teams.

In Malawi, the majority of players that represented the country in Algeria at FIFA under 20 World Cup in 2009 are nowhere to be seen yet the likes of Brazilian Neymar, Spanish duo of Isco, Tiago Alcantara, Mario Gotze of Germany, Eden Hazard of Belgium just to mention a few, are representing their countries at international tournaments.

Cameroon

Cameroon: Claimed the 2017 Afcon honors.

We cannot be building forever. There has be time when you need to put the rebuilding tools down and appreciate what you have produced. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with our team. Year in, year out, when a new coach comes in, he is allowed to start all over again instead of just working on his predecessors’ shortfalls.

For example, when Ernest Mtawali took over from Young Chimodzi, he completely disbanded the team as he opted for a youthful side. However, when the results were not going his way, Malawians, including Football Association of Malawi (FAM) started murmuring and just like other coaches, he got fired.

Mtawali’s project was fine and if he had been given opportunity to continue, we would have been assured of a strong team in the next three years but Malawians wanted imminent results forgetting that Flames had over ageing players that needed proper replacements.

The Cameroonian side that has won Afcon on Sunday has an average age of 24 but in Malawi, for one to play for a national team, he must be more than 30. Rome wasn’t built for a day but if we continue doing things this way, we will keep on building this team forever.

Time has come to focus on developing talent. It can take years but one day, we will harvest what we have been planting.

Let’s keep the under 23 that played a friendly game against the Chinese club last month, send them to Cosafa or Cecafa tournaments and let them play in CHAN competition. Let us not focus on qualifying for 2019 Afcon but our focus should be qualifying for 2021 tournament as well as making it to Qatar in 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Failing to do this, our team will never make it. Let’s learn from our fellows, building a team is a risk worth taking, look at Cameroon, Senegal, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Ghana and many more teams, they have a future because they took a risk of nurturing talent from youthful teams from the structures put in place.

Invest in youth structures, involve primary and secondary schools in this project and by the end of the next five years, the rebuilding exercise will surely be over.

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43 Comments

  1. Be serious guys,how can u build a team with players playing in Mozambique,Rwanda at least South Africa league is Betta buy hw many do we have in PSL.

  2. How can you blame the players,what facilities you have to motivate players.Come on guys you should think first before putting all the blame on players. Don’t compare with the time of Kinna Phiri things were affordable unlike to day. How can a highly paid player get Mk 400000 ( R 8,000) and think about how much is a bag of maize. Everything is up then you expect some one to lose his life for MAHALA.

  3. Correct 2 points mw 24 on this article, but individually from Cameron players the dedicated themselves than what happens in our players but all in all to maintain them is a good idea.

  4. Our fooball its too much politics and its become nosense..had it been kinnah phiri z still flames coach we supposed hav a strong team cous he owez say am still build team..to build a team its nt a joke..phuma amalawi ife…

  5. don’t wast time kumago lalata ayi let contribute positively m’dziko lino ndilatonse my view pamalawi pano tilibe macadamy ampira therefore afamu alimbikitse mpira ku primary osakhala kusekondale kokha tingathe kupita foward wazidziwa.

  6. Flames the bunch of losers,..just wasting money on flames,better use that money to buy drugs in hospitals..,and tell that fam president to step down,he is also a failure.

  7. Iwe,,,ukamalemba uziona zot ungalembe wamva,,,? Malaw ukaerekeze nd cameroon,,? Tamufuse Gabeya,,Sulumba,,akuuza mmene mpra wakumalaw ulili,,zopanda tsogoloo,,nae Water Nyamilandu akuononga mpira pamalaw pano,,achina YaBwanya aja akadalongosola znthu,,,koma mmmmmm

  8. Ernest Mtawali is a failure and thruthfully he didn’t have a requisite knowlege to rebuild the team. He was too changing the team without making consultations with other reputable coaches,or his own technical team to be precise.

    It is the talent of the coach that can bring fruits to Malawi and not picking coaches as an appeasement. Kinnah Phiri managed to bring some results, but was he given necessary resources to really take Malawi football to hieghts? No.

    This coach of Morocco, he coached Ivory Coast in a year and won the Afcon. He did the same with Zambia. Morocco also this were the favourites. Does he need 3 years and more to rebuild the team? No. He has the talent to bring positive results. Malawi is good at picking monday coaches. Resources towards improvement of soccer in Malawi leave a lot to desired.

  9. Ernest Mtawali is failure and thruthfully he didn’t have a requisite knowlege to rebuild the team. He was too changing the team without making consultations with other reputable coaches,or his own technical team to be precise.

    It is the talent of the coach that can bring fruits to Malawi and not picking coaches as an appeasement. Kinnah Phiri managed to bring some results, but was he given necessary resources to really take Malawi football to hieght. No.

    This coach of Morocco, he coached Ivory Coast in a year and won the Afcon. He did the same with Zambia. Morocco also this were the favourites. Does he need 3 years and more to rebuild the team. No. Malawi is good at picking monday coaches. Resources towards improvement of soccer in Malawi leave a lot to desired.

  10. That under 23 team against a Chinese team lacks stamina,height ,and a physical dominance.You can not compare football in Cameroon and in Malawi.In Cameroon,they have youth academies and most times their young players are either attached to European clubs or signed by those clubs while moving the ranks from a youth club player to a reserve player,and to a first team player.Some of the players were born in Europe to Cameroonian parentage and chose to represent the African nation.Aside from this,the Cameroonian league is very competitive and has clubs such as Tonnere Younde and Canon Douala competing in African championships. This is to say that the league itself also produces players that are strong with all physical attributes, talented,and ready for European football.

    The case with Malawi is different.The country doesn’t have youth academies; Malawian clubs are not competitive and don’t have players with all physical attributes.Players in Malawi look feeble or weak as if they lacked necessarily nutrients when growing up.The Chinese club coach also observed this shortfall about Malawian players- he noted that they needed to put on weight in order to be strong.I think he meant to say they needed to add muscles to their bodies and become thicker so that they could manage to play professional football abroad.This lack of physique comes about because these players were never trained at academy level.

    Unless authorities in Malawi start getting serious about investing in the youth and setting up academies,the country will hardly produce quality players for export overseas. Teams in Malawi are not fully-fledged clubs with a stadium,club house,youth teams and merchandise shop,and that’s a problem when you look at raising the standard of football.Teams in Malawi are dictated by sponsors and are not independent.This is why they change names each time a new sponsor comes in.In general, Malawian football is far behind in terms of league competition,youth development,player agents,and team commercialization.The country can’t just produce the cream of players attractive to overseas clubs- if a player looks talented he is either short or weak.There is no way the best coach in the world could perform wonders for the national team because of the crop of players.The whole system needs a revolution.