Flames coach Ernest ‘Wire’ Mtawali has said he dropped experienced midfielders Robert ‘Baggio’ Ng’ambi and Chimango Kayira because they do not fit in his plans for the forthcoming engagements.
Mtawali left out the midfield duo from his 27-member squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zimbabwe’s Warriors and the Cosafa Castle Cup next month.
“I know some people might think I am against senior players, but that is not the case. Robert has done fairly well for his club [Platinum Stars in South Africa]. In fact, he was one of the most consistent performers. Chimango is also a good player.
“But selection goes beyond that. These are players that have been part of the national side for years and there are several factors that are considered when selecting players. Things like their impact, attitude, commitment, form, behaviour and value. The level of commitment and contribution at club level also has to translate in the national team,” he said in an interview on Saturday.
The Flames legend also dismissed suggestions that he is applying trial and error method in the team selection.
“Building a team is a process and that is what I am doing. When my contract expires, I would want to leave a team that will reach lofty heights. I am not saying I will get rid of all senior players because if that was the case then I would not [have] recalled Joseph [Kamwendo] and [Peter] Wadabwa.
“I know we are all hungry for success, but it is not a process that can be done overnight. Let us not be seduced by big names because it could be the reason why we have not made progress.
“If I feel Dalitso Sailesi and ‘Tcheya’ [Isaac Kaliati] are doing better than senior players plying their trade abroad and will suit the system then I will do that but it doesn’t mean that I have shut the door on the dropped senior players,” he said.
Ng’ambi yesterday said he had nothing to say about his sidelining. n