Kinnah Phiri has said the Flames would have reached the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2010 had some players not betrayed their country.
The former Flames coach said this in an interview with MIJ FM on Saturday when he commended the current squad for reaching the Afcon knockout stages.
Said the Flames legend: “Had some of the players not sold their country, surely we would have been the first to achieve that feat in Angola 2010.
“In fact, we would have gone as far as the quarter-finals, but some of the players were childish.
“Anyway, there is nothing we can do about it now and its good that the current squad has broken that jinx.”
And in an interview yesterday, the Flames all-time leading scorer said Malawi has the potential to go far at the Cameroon tournament.
“If they can have self-belief, determination and maintain their rhythm, they can beat Morocco on Tuesday [tomorrow].
“As a nation, we just have to rally behind the team and pray for them,” said the former Nyasa Big Bullets and Flames striker.
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina agreed with Kinnah, saying: “With due respect to the current squad, which has done the nation proud, technically and player by player, the 2010 squad was far much better.
He said: “And if it wasn’t for match-fixing, they would have gone as far as the quarter-finals.
“If you compare their exploits against Algeria, their performance against Angola and Mali were sale outs. It just didn’t add up.”
In 2010, the Flames bowed out in the group stages after a bright start which saw them thrashing the then World Cup bound Algeria’s Desert Foxes, before going down to Angola’s Neglas Palancas 2-0 and Mali’s Eagles 3-1.
Some Flames players are reported to have pocketed an equivalent of K270 million from match fixers.
According to the evidence which our sister newspaper Weekend Nation gathered and published in 2019, seven Flames players were at the centre of a match-fixing syndicate which led to former midfielder Hellings Mwakasungula getting a life ban by world football governing body Fifa.
However, the identities of the other six players were not revealed as Fifa stated that they were still under investigation.