Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama has warned Flames players against indiscipline both on and off the field, saying such behaviour can affect the national football team’s performance.
He also advised the Flames technical panel not to tolerate indiscipline and expel any misbehaving player from camp so that he should not “contaminate” teammates.
The minister said this on Thursday when he made a surprise visit to the Flames camp at Mpira Village in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre where the team is preparing for the Cosafa Cup and back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers against Burkina Faso’s Stallions in November.
The warning comes a few days after South Africa-based striker Khuda Muyaba and his wife Enelecio Mhango, a senior women’s football national team forward, lashed out at the Meck Mwase-led Flames technical panel through social media platforms for excluding the 2019 TNM Super League golden-boot winner from the squad.
Said the minister: “Everywhere in the world, discipline is of paramount importance among athletes. Football and discipline must go together if you are to achieve success both on and off the pitch.”
“You also have to respect the technical panel as they do not hate you, but want to make you better players. It was, therefore, quite disturbing to read about one player insulting the technical staff.”
He added that the technical panel should not hesitate to expel any misbehaving player from the squad considering that “indiscipline is contagious and as such players can incite bad behaviour among teammates”.
The Flames’ stand-in captain Stanley Sanudi said they will promptly follow the minister’s advice.
“As Malawi football ambassadors, we will not only strive to make the country proud through our performance on the pitch, but also ensure that we are good role models to up-and-coming players,” he said.
Apart from visiting the Flames at Mpira Village, where he was also impressed with the Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety of the camping players, Msungama commissioned the Blantyre Youth Centre that has been refurbished by the Malawi National Council of Sports.
Before making his speeches at both places, the minister led the delegates to observe a minute of silence for the recent deaths of Kamuzu Barracks FC coach Billy Phambala, sports journalist Elijah Phimbi and former Junior Flames player Peter Chirwa.