Some renowned soccer pundits have said the Flamesâ€™ 2-0 loss to Rwandaâ€™s Amavubi in their Group C opening fixture at the Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda on Monday was confirmation that they have terribly lost their way.
The Flames were left searching their soul after a morale-shattering defeat at the hands of a side rated 124th on Fifa rankings.
Malawi anchor the four-team group with no point. Rwanda lead with three points whereas Eritrea and Zanzibar have a point each.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, renowned football commentators Yasin Osman, Peterkins Kayira and Charles Nyirenda have said the result is a cause for worry.
The four agreed that for the better part of the proceedings on Monday, the Flames played without any purpose or commitment and their tactical and technical shortcomings were clearly exposed.
Nyamilandu said: â€œThe performance spoke volumes about the poor state of our national team and something needs to be done.â€
Nyamilandu said the team looked disorganised at the back and in the middle.
â€œIf you struggle against a team such as Rwanda, who are considered minnows on the continent, then there is every reason to worry,â€ he said.
But Osman and Kayira had no kind words for the players.
Said Osman: â€œMost of the times, we point fingers at the coaches, but in all fairness, from what I saw, our players were technically inferior. They were even failing to do the basic things.â€
He said apart from goalkeeper Charles Swini, left-back Moses Chavula, midfielder Joseph Kamwendo and rookie forward Micium Mhone, the others were hopeless and hardly deserve a place in the team.
Asked if he felt the coaches have also failed, Osman said from what he saw, it is difficult to blame the coach. Yet, he said he felt there were some players who struggled and should have been taken off much earlier such as Green Harawa and Chiukepo Msowoya.
On his part, Kayira said the first thing is for players to change their attitude.
â€œHow can a striker fail to convert two clear-cut chances? Is he a striker worth his name? This speaks volumes of the pathetic standards of the game in the country.â€
Kayira suggested an overhaul of the team.
On whether the coach should take the blame, Kayira said: â€œOf course, the coach is responsible for the teamâ€™s performance and results, but the way I looked at it, the players let us down.â€
Nyirenda said there was need to give the team the benefit of the doubt because the coaches are trying new combinations.
The former FAM chief executive officer also faulted team selection and fielding.