TNM Super League leading scorer Maxwell Gasten Phodo says he is devastated for being dropped from the Flames squad to face Tanzania on June 13 in an international friendly match.
The Silver Strikers talisman’s manager Felix Kholowa said in an interview on Tuesday that Phodo is struggling to come to terms with his exclusion.
He said: “Phodo is very upset. He expected to be part of the squad considering his current form.
“Actually, one of the reasons he struggled during last weekend’s league match [against TN Stars] was because of that.
“But I am trying to convince him to put that aside and concentrate on his game.”
Phodo leads the scorers chart with 12 goals.
On the player’s targets for the season, Kholowa said: “He is not prioritising personal glory. Rather he wants to help Silver to win the league title.
“He says if he wins the golden boot, it will just be a bonus.”
However, Flames coach Meck Mwase justified the Central Bankers’ forward exclusion, saying the squad has been called at short notice; hence, the focus was on the tried and tested.
“We have considered those that have been playing regularly and we will have time to call more local-based players as we have asked for more friendly matches because we are also looking at the upcoming Cosafa Cup,” he said.
Incredibly, the squad includes one local-based forward in Nomads’ Vincent Nyangulu, who has scored four goals in the domestic top-flight—eight behind Phodo.
The other strikers are South Africa-based trio of Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango, Richard Mbulu and Khuda Muyaba.
Muyaba, who has six Flames appearances, is yet to score for the national team.
Football analyst Kelvin Moyo described Phodo’s exclusion as unfortunate.
He said: “I would say whatever the case, Phodo should have been included. Malawi’s biggest problem technically is scoring goals and it should have been normal to include the national league leading scorer.”