Even after his failure to meet one of his targets to guide the Flames to qualify for the next stage of the 2018 Fifa World Cup, coach Ernest Mtawali insists he has what it takes to breathe a new lease of life into the Flames.
The Flames legend said the solace is that his rebuilding drive is on track and that the team’s impressive showing against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars last Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium could prove to be a turning point.
Despite winning the second leg 1-0, the Flames still bowed out 1-2 on aggregate following their 0-2 loss in the first-leg encounter in Dar es Salaam last Wednesday.
“Our rebuilding phase is now taking shape and while we missed out on qualifying for the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers, I can still take solace in that we still have a chance to qualify for  Africa Cup of Nations,” he said.
Mtawali said his philosophy is to build a good team with a blend of up-and-coming and experienced players.
His side had majority of the players with less than five caps and with the next competitive fixture coming in March next year, the coach feels strength-testing matches would go a long way in helping the players get international exposure while getting used to his philosophy.
His team has inexperienced players such as Stanley Sanudi, Miracle Gabeya, Isaac Kaliyati, Schumacher Kuwali, Dalitso Sailesi, Yamikani Chester Chawanangwa Kawonga and Brighton Munthali.
“We need to get friendly games. It’s important that these youngsters must continue playing together so as toused to the system that I am trying to introduce.”
But football analyst Charles Nyirenda called on FAM to come out in the open and spell out the ‘Mtawali project’.
“This is where we should begin. FAM must come out in the open and explain to the nation what its vision is as regards the ‘Mtawali project’. The problem is that people have different expectations to those of FAM.
“Otherwise, we are on the right track. You see people thought results can be manufactured within a short period of time. This is not possible. You need time to build a good team. What I saw on Sunday is something I have never seen Malawi national football team do for quite a long time. I saw a Malawi team shooting on target for several times. The play was good, sweet to the eye. It’s just that luck was not on our side; otherwise, we could have beaten them 3-0,” said Nyirenda.