Analysts have suggested that FAM should lobby the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to reschedule the 2022 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Burkina Faso because Malawi will not be ready to raise to formidable team.
The Flames are scheduled to face the Stallions of Burkina Faso back-to-back in November.
The analysts’ advice comes as government is yet to announce the date when football can resume.
Soccer analyst Felix Ngamanya Sapao said it will be impossible to raise Malawi players’ fitness levels in time to face the Burkanabes
He said: “We should not cheat ourselves. Malawi is not ready to play Burkina Faso in November. Serious people in football know that a player needs a minimum of six weeks pre-season. The bulk of our players in the team are from the local league, and no one has kicked a ball the whole year. Most are not active. FAM should request CAF accordingly and tell them the truth.
“A performance analyst will advise you that a player and/or a team needs six weeks minimum pre-season/full match and fitness to be ready for serious football. Burkina Faso can raise two teams from European and North African-based players who are active right now.”
Another soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda also held the same view, saying Malawi would only be fulfilling the fixture and not competing.
He said: “If there is any further delay to start soccer activities now, albeit with empty seats due to Covid-19 restrictions, we should forget about participating because our opponents will field players who will have been busy in European leagues for a while.
“Apart from that, Burkina Faso hasn’t been affected the same way Malawi has with Covid-19. The pandemic is not a big deal there. That’s why they have resumed football there. But even if the pandemic had caused issues, their national team would not have been affected as much because the side relies on players based in Europe.”
Some of Burkina stars are Jonathan Pitroipa (PSG), Edmond Tapson (Bayer Leverkusen), captain Charles Kabore (Dynamo Kiev), Betrand Traole (Lyon) and Lassina Traole (AFC Ajax).
Malawi on the other hand has Charles Petro and Francisco Madinga in Europe while Yamikani Chester plays in USA.
The rest of the players are either in Mozambique which is still in lockdown or South Africa which is about to conclude its season.
Meanwhile, Flames coach Meck Mwase has warned Malawians not to expect a good performance from the Flames if the country further delays the restart of football.
“It’s true we rely mostly on local players who have been idle for almost a full season. If we don’t start football soon, then we shouldn’t expect to do well,” he said.
Ministry of Youth and Sports spokesperson Simon Mbvundula yesterday said the ministry had submitted a consolidated roadmap to restart sports which the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 will evaluate before giving the go-ahead for football restart.
One of critical recommendations, however, is on ban on participation in international competitions which casts doubts on whether Malawi will participate in the Afcon qualifiers.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the association is hopeful that government will treat football restart with urgency so that the local league can restart to enable players regain fitness ahead of the Afcon qualifiers.
“It will help the cause if football is given specific attention just like other critical sectors,” he said.