Football Association of Malawi (FAM)has unveiled plans to engage a performance analyst for the Flames ahead of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
The performance analyst is expected to study the Flames’ opponents and analyse strengths and weaknesses.
The Flames have been drawn against Senegal, Guinea and Zimbabwe at next year’s Afcon finals and are also in the same group with Cameroon, Mozambique and Ivory Coast in the World Cup Qatar 2022 group stage qualifiers starting next month.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said in an interview yesterday that performance analysts are critical in modern football.
He said: “This is a critical role. We have already been using a performance analyst during the last matches, but it was on part-time basis.”
Nyamilandu said the performance analyst will be part of the Flames backroom staff on permanent basis.
In a separate interview, soccer analyst David Kanyenda applauded FAM for the decision, saying the association should embrace scientific ways of improving the Flames’ performance.
He said: “Definitely, he [ Flames coach Meck Mwase] needs more backroom staff to assist him with intelligence on opponents’ players and tactics.
“We will need to closely monitor our opponents, especially in the World Cup qualifiers. They need to assign analysts for every opponent.
“Football is more of a science nowadays, relying heavily on data and predictive analytics.We have time to do some thorough homework and surprise our opponents.”
On whether a performance analyst may lead to too many cooks spoiling the soup, Kanyenda said the analyst would only offer advice to the coach.
“He [the coach] needs a lot of help in the background. Not all his helpers must sit on the bench with him,” he said.
According to www.sportsperformamceanalysis.com, a performance analyst helps a coach develop an understanding of actions that can inform decision-making, optimise performance and results.
“In many team sports, this would consist of tactical assessment, movement analysis, video and statistical databasing and modelling and coach and player data presentations,” the website states.
United Kingdom-based data analysis manager Guillermo Martinez Arastey explains: “Performance analysts are like any other member in the backroom staff of a sporting team. On game day, analysts require to capture all the actions happening on the pitch to later tag and create video playlists of each player for the following day.
“They would then have one-on-one sessions with players led by the management team to present and discuss clips showing mistakes and any positives from the match.
“Team sessions are also held to show the team video analysis of the game as a group, discussing offensive and defensive formations, tactical analysis and any relevant actions that need consideration by coaches.
“Players and coaches may also ask for one-off clips and analysis as they find appropriate to review specific areas relevant to them to focus their development and learning.”
In the absence of such scientific analytical methods, the Flames technical panel has been accused of calling up or featuring players who do not deserve it.