Army Commander Henry Odillo is set to meet Malawi Defence Force’s (MDF) four Super League teams to strategise on next season, including raising the performance and discipline bar.
In an exclusive telephone interview on Tuesday, Odillo stressed that his football charges’ observance of discipline is not negotiable.
Odillo refused to rate Red Lions, Mafco, Kamuzu Barracks and Moyale Barracks’ levels of discipline last season, “but I expect high standard of discipline…of course, players lose tempers. I have heard problems of poor officiation.”
“That all four Army teams are still in the Super League is a positive development. Of course, we expected more from them. Basically, there is room for improvement. We have recognised that there are challenges. Our idea is to ensure we achieve the highest standards in football,” he said.
MDF sports officer warrant officer class one John Kaputa confirmed that the Commander had, for the first time, called for the meeting whose date is yet to be set. The meeting is scheduled before the start of the 2013/14 season next month.
“It was his directive that from this season, he will be meeting Super League teams to hear from them where they are coming from, where they are and where they aspire to go. Each team will have its representation at the meeting… we will find a common trend on the challenges and see areas needing improvement, including coaches and players’ discipline,” Kaputa said.
Out of eight cases of indiscipline such as hooliganism and violence, three incidents involved MDF teams Moyale, Red Lions and Kamuzu Barracks with the rest of the teams such as Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers involved. The Super League of Malawi has since launched a campaign denouncing violence and hooliganism.
Mafco, whose chairperson Major Gift Njete in the 2011/12 season blamed stereotypes for accusations of Army teams’ misbehaviour, registered most yellow and red cards last season. Army teams also picked most cards in the previous season.
Kamuzu Barracks general secretary Dickson Mtontholo on Tuesday said his team was yet to be briefed about the possibility of the meeting with the MDF top brass.
Moyale, who reached the 2012 Presidential Cup final, were the most outstanding MDF team last season.
Odillo wants to turn the Army into an institution that produces top athletes. MDF has recruited top athletes such as lawn tennis player Patricia Matola, footballers McDonald Harawa, Loti Chawinga, Andrew and Gastin Simkonda, boxers Wilson Masamba and Osgood Kayuni.