Flames inspirational midfielder Robert â€˜Baggioâ€™ Ngâ€™ambi has spoken out his frustration with coach Kinnah Phiri for reducing him to a sideshow during the Flames matches.
Ngâ€™ambi has not featured for the Flames in the recent competitive games against Chad and Ghana in 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and is questioning Kinnahâ€™s justification for calling him for national duty and then reduce him to a bench warmer.
Said Ngâ€™ambi: â€œI am surprised that the coach keeps on calling me for national duty and yet he does not feature me. It is frustrating, more so when he cannot explain as to why I am not being given game time.
â€œOf late, I have only featured as a second half substitute against Liberia and I only featured for less than 20 minutes.â€
The Platinum Stars captain also said government spends a lot of money transporting him from South Africa only to warm the bench.
â€œI am not saying I am a better player than those that are there. In fact, I am happy with the performance of fellow midfielders in the team. There are a lot of players who have shown potential and this is good for the team.
â€œBut my point is why call me all the way from South Africa just to put me on the bench when there are other players that can do better?â€ Ngâ€™ambi wondered.
He also stressed that he is not bitter with the coachâ€™s move to reduce him to the bench.
â€œI am not bitter because I know Iâ€™m not guaranteed a place in the national team. Team fielding is at the discretion of the coach and I know that a position in the team is earned after considering a number of factors, so all I want to know is why I am not playing,â€ said Ngâ€™ambi.
Kinnah has defended his move, saying he was not impressed with Ngâ€™ambiâ€™s pace when he was introduced as a second half substitute in the strength-testing match against Liberia.
â€œI featured Robert [Ngâ€™ambi] as a second half substitute in the match against Liberia and it was evident that he was struggling with pace,â€ said Kinnah.