Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has defended the Flames and its coaching panel in the wake of calls from some quarters to have the team overhauled.
After the Flames’ back-to-back losses against Algeria in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualification campaign, disgruntled fans have been calling for the team’s overhaul while others want the coaching panel fired.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, Flames captain Joseph Kamwendo and assistant coach Jack Chamangwana yesterday appealed to soccer followers to give the team the benefit of the doubt.
“All is not lost, our hopes are still alive. Of course, we lost an opportunity against Algeria at home, but the battle for second slot is still open and anything can happen.
“We need to dig deeper and get a positive result against Mali which will be a decider. So, it is premature to rule the Flames out and condemn the coaches,” said Nyamilandu.
Kamwendo said: “People must learn to appreciate what others are doing, we have everything in our hands. Let’s just come together and plan well for us to make it.
“We must be focused and determined to win our remaining games and not dwell on bygones.”
Chamangwana also appealed for restraint. He also said they were not affected by the calls to overhaul the team or remove him and his boss Chimodzi.
“It is not like we are depending on others to do it for us, it is still in our hands and that is what people need to understand, we are aware of the pain that they go through when the national team is not doing well, but they should calm down. They just have to rally behind us because we need their support,” said Chamangwana.
He also said under the circumstances that the team went through, it was a tall order to get a result in Algeria.
Said Chamangwana: “I am not trying to come up with excuses, but unlike our friends who departed soon after the first leg on a chartered flight. We left on Sunday and had a three-legged trip that took us about 18 hours.
“When we arrived on Monday, the players were physically and mentally drained. We just did not have enough time to recover and you could see it in their body language and worse still, on Tuesday morning we were not provided a ground to train and that meant we trained only once on Tuesday evening.”
He claimed that it was the result of the players’ physical condition that led to two key players Kamwendo and Atusaye Nyondo picking up injuries in the early minutes of the game.
Chamangwana said the players were down for the better part of the match until the last 30 minutes.
“Lapse in concentration in the early and closing stages has led to conceding goals that could have been avoided in a number of games, but we are trying to work on that aspect,” he said.
He said the team’s weakest link is the midfield and some changes will be made in the last two games.
The Flames anchor Group B with three points from four games from which they have only registered a single win. Algeria, who top the group with 12 points, have already qualified and the Flames are battling for the second slot with second-placed Mali who have six points as well as Ethiopia who also have three points.