Silver Strikers have hit at national football team coach Ron van Geneugden’s (RVG) for sidelining the Bankers’ players from the Flames squad travelling to Morocco for a mini-tournament.
Three Silver Strikers players Brighton Munthali, Mark Fodya and Mathews Sibale, were called into Flames camp, but they have been dropped from the final squad.
Instead, RVG has opted for Ernest Kakhobwe and Yamikani Fodya (Big Bullets), Denis Chembezi and Simeon Singa from PremierBet Wizards, Stanley Sanudi and Jabulani Linje from Be Forward Wanderers, Peter Cholopi (Azam Tigers), Gomezgani Chirwa, Fletcher Bandawe and Righteous Banda (Civil Sporting) and Chikoti Chirwa from Red Lions.
The Bankers general secretary Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda questioned RVG’s player selection criterion.
He said: “Any neutral bystander would quickly say some players from Silver deserve to be in the national team. World over, clubs that do well in the league, contribute the greatest number of players to the national team.
“Our Young Chimodzi Jnr has been our team’s engine room, yet he hasn’t been called for national team duty. Duncan Nyoni has no match in the domestic league, but he has not been considered. Brighton [Munthali] was player of the tournament in the Top 8 Airtel Challenge Cup, but he has been dropped.
“We have Matthews, who is among the top goal scorers in the league, but was turned back from the national team. Yet strikers who have not scored a single goal at their clubs are in the national team. When we say a player is a striker, we look at his probability to score goals and his pedigree. We have both qualities in Sibale.”
Chakaka-Nyirenda said Silver players are not the only victims, but other clubs as well.
“This does not affect Silver only, but other teams as well such as Moyale who have Khuda Muyaba and Chitipa United who have Abel Mwakilama as prolific goal poachers in the Super League. Look at the number of PremierBet Wizards players in the squad. Their team is struggling in the league, yet the players are considered better than Silver players. I don’t think the selection was based on any objective criterion,” he said.
During the last Flames camp, RVG sent back Silver players after they reported late for training.
The coach only softened up after Silver apologised for the incident and Chakaka-Nyirenda said the incident was now water under the bridge.
He said: “We sat down with the coach and explained to him the reasons for not letting the players to join the national team camp. We apologised to the coach and he accepted our apology. He told us to let bygones to be bygones. But now any neutral observer would certainly say something has gone wrong with the selection of players to the national team.
“We can only speculate the reasons. Maybe, the coach has his own plans. Maybe our players do not fit in the style of play. Maybe our players are not good enough. But the bottom line is that to be at the top means we are simply the best. It beats common sense and logic why players from the best team are considered trash by the national team coach. This will, in the short run, boomerang.”
Silver, who recently won the Airtel Top 8, are the only unbeaten Super League and were deposed from the summit of the log table by Wanderers just over the weekend.
Commenting on the development, analyst Charles Nyirenda also had reservations on RVG’s squad.
He said: “It’s peculiar that out of the local batch of what he has picked, Silver players have been excluded. Are they good enough for everybody else but not the national team?”
RVG was not available for comment as he was en route to Morocco for the tournament.
But FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the coach picks players based on his assessment. n