Malawi football has fallen on hard times; difficult times hard to deal with.
All I can see from my left, to the centre and to the right, is violence, hooliganism, fines and appeals everywhere.
Every year, the Super League is losing its cream of players to better paying and organised Mozambique league clubs. Hey pah!
On the pitch, this year marks a decade of domestic clubs’ absence from CAF Champions League and the Confederations Cup. And I am still counting.
Now we are talking violence and hooliganism when the rest of the continent’s football vocabulary is going professional. Very soon the Flames shall become the Tahiti of African football.
Imagine no Flames at the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil let alone a referee at the African Nations Championship (Chan), which ran its course on the shores of South Africa yesterday.
It hurts having to watch other national teams on the big football stage all the time. As for Chan, I just committed a serious sin of journalism by assuming that most local fans understand the concept of this competition.
But the persistent questions of kodi Chan ndi chani? (what is Chan?) left me with no choice but explain the distinction between Chan and other competitions such as the usual Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
Before doing so, let me mention that the Flames did not participate in Chan due to the Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) own financial ‘load shedding’ programme which had them not registering for this competition.
And even if FAM had registered the Flames for Chan, I doubt if they could have made the final cut.
Just like the conventional Afcon, in Chan teams have to be screened through rigorous zonal three qualifying rounds before making it to the final.
Chan is CAF’s football invention of a few years ago whose concept is to allow national teams to feature players only drawn from their respective domestic leagues so as to broaden the exposure which foreign-based players usually monopolises.
The Flames joined the 2008 inaugural edition of Chan, beat Mozambique in the first round over two legs only to be dumped out by Angola.