Big Bullets militant captain Fischer Kondowe has lashed out at current Flames players for having neither a sense of purpose nor pride in serving the country.
“They slip into the national team jersey with no purpose. It is all about making numbers. They simply do not feel it is an honour. Players are not committed 100 percent. It hurts watching the Flames. That is the difference between us and Zambia,” Kondowe said on Wednesday.
Nation Online had asked Kondowe, alongside other veterans Peter Mponda and Hellings Mwakasungula, on the source of Flames’ struggles, which have ignited debate between coach Kinnah Phiri and technical adviser Jack Chamangwana.
Ironically, during his Flames career, which ended in 2010, Kondowe had a strained relationship with Kinnah and his predecessor Stephen Constantine over off-the-field conduct.
“Every time I played, I did so wholeheartedly. I respected the Flames jersey. It took me five Super League seasons to earn a Flames place. Now, players are just selected after two league games. They are not ready for the national team,” he said.
Kondowe fell short of blaming Kinnah for watering down players selection standards, arguing “a player must have the guts to say ‘no’ when not ready. I once refused Jomo Cosmos’ overtures, because I was not ready”.
In separate interviews on Wednesday, Mwakasungula and Mponda, who is still Flames captain, attributed the struggles of the Flames, who flopped in 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, to poor transition.
Said Mponda: “There was no continuity and we are struggling starting a fresh. There was overdependence on some players. Nde pamene takalamba zinthu zavuta (now that our legs are gone, the team is struggling).”
The Silver Strikers assistant coach, Mwakasungula, who like Mponda were regulars in the squad that qualified for the Nations Cup finals in Angola in 2010, partly shared the position on lack of transition. He felt experienced Flames players were pushed out too quickly after the 2010 campaign.
A few days ago, Chamangwana called for a Flames reshuffle as “most of the players are not committed”. But Kinnah said Chamangwana shares the blame for the struggles and the solution is not getting rid of players as there would be no replacements.
Work starts on Lilongwe modern stadium project
Construction work of the Malawi National Stadium for sports has started in Lilongwe’s Area 48. The stadium will seat 40 500 spectators and will cost $65 million (about K22 billion). A visit to the site captured these men preparing the ground for construction of a water storage facility to be used during the project.