As a nation, we want to be associated with growth and success in sports.
One of the areas that need attention is football, especially the national teams.
Do we have a winning approach to unearth a national team that will do the nation proud?
It is without doubt that patriotic Malawians would love to see our national team, the Flames, competing effectively and progressively in international competitions, including the World Cup.
Despite this burning desire to be champions in all competitions, we are always put off unceremoniously.
We cannot sit back and accept this downward trend. Failure cannot be normal. We ought to find what causes this disgraceful failure and sustainable solutions.
It is not normal that failures of our national team outweigh successes.
For instance, the country has never qualified for the World Cup. It has been to the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) two times only. The three-time Cecafa champions have become perennial underachievers in the Cosafa challenge.
Taking part in the World Cup qualifiers has become a white elephant, a dream that keeps draining millions of kwachas from national coffers.
As a nation, we need a winning squad, a team which can deliver and bring back our smiles.
Time is gone for the nation to only build a team based on formality.
We cannot continue to be the underdogs of the continent. We need a victorious national squad, not a participatory one.
Undoubtedly, having presence of talents and skilled individuals in football is one thing and adopting a precise identification system and mechanism of players to form a brilliant national squad is the other.
When choosing the national team players, there is need to look at the passion, willingness, maturity and the psychological fitness of each player.
The Times of Swaziland wrote: “Building a workable national team is not a walk in the park, but only requires extraordinary determination from extraordinary people.”
Do we have extraordinary way of building our national team based on individual passion, willingness, maturity with psychologically fit to embrace the dilemmas of the pitch?
Priority should be given to those players who are willing to represent our nation with determination, with sense of maturity and sense of pride that the national colours represent.
It is apparent some of the players in the national squad still lack maturity in their display of football despite playing for years at both local and professional levels.
As a nation we are obligated to find out if our national team, both past and present, has a culture and values to be followed by all who wear our colours.
Do the players know what it means to be selected to represent a nation? The players need to know that playing for a national team is beyond a hobby of playing football, but a duty entrusted on them which requires commitment to do the nation proud.
Do they have, in their mind, a flag of Malawi with black, red and green and a rising sun for that matter?
To say the least, we have untapped talent here in the country. We are far much better in terms of having talented players, as well as skilled individuals.
The question is: are the bodies entrusted to spearhead football in the country doing their job? They need to be transparent, honest, visionary and accountable. Do they embrace the need of having long term plans for the national football squad? If not, are they using the positions entrusted to them as their personal trademarks?
We need them to tell the nation what they have achieved and how they have failed the expectations of Malawians and, if possible, exit the scene.
The game needs a change of mindset at all levels.