There is more that is left unsaid on Malawi players who return empty-handed from foreign clubs either after failed trials or a futile spell, The Nation can reveal.
It has been established that while most players return after failing to impress on the pitch, others do not survive due to unsuccessful medicals, bad habits (alcoholism, chamba-smoking) or indeed detected age-cheating.
A coach and local and international playersâ€™ agents/scouts confirmed on record and one in confidence what trials entail and what are passing and failing benchmarks.
Malawi veteran footballers scout Ben Chiwaya, who has facilitated trials for over 20 players, confirmed that when it comes to results of trials, “most of the times we use technical language when it comes to the outcome.”
Trials involve players getting specific period in training and friendly matches, then the test extends to heart condition and other defects. On behaviour, the test zeroes in on hobbies and attitudes, said Chiwaya.
“Basically, they check on heart and lungs to see if a player can run 120 minutes without any breakdown for the team to be on the safe side â€˜healthwiseâ€™. Passing trials means you have to be above [better] the local player of that country,” Chiwaya noted in a response to a questionnaire during the week.
“You can pass trials, but if there are some problems in between, the deal can be thrown into waters based on the doctorsâ€™ findings. If the problem can be handled, management can still take a chance to sign the player after consultation with the technical team.”
In an e-mailed response during the week, Algeriaâ€™s MC Oran Swiss head coach Raoul Savoy seemed to agree with Chiwaya, noting he normally looks for in â€˜trialistsâ€™, “fitness and attitude without the ball, defensive reactions, personal discipline, time respect and general behaviour”.
Spain-based striker Robin Ngalandeâ€™s manager Paul Mitchell on Friday disclosed what scouts and coaches look for in players. These attributes include playersâ€™ age, technical ability (two great feet, good touch, quick), physical strength and size.
“In terms of medical, it depends where you go. In SA, it is not so stringent and HIV tests, for example, are usually optional. In Europe, usually it is very stringent, including full scans on heart and blood. In Asia, for example, in Vietnam they are very thorough in every way,” noted Mitchell of South Africaâ€™s Siyavuma Sports.
In few instances, Malawi playersâ€™ habits have let them down, according to local scout Kondie Msungama who on Thursday corroborated The Nationâ€™s findings.
“I have my own example of a player [name withheld] whose form dropped and was forced back due to bad habits. Some players fail to proceed in their careers due to drinking, smoking and drugs,” admitted Msungama who has facilitated transfers of some seven Malawian players to foreign teams.
It has emerged that a Malawian player was not signed after being found drunk after contract negotiations with his manager. Another player could not see his contract through after being caught smoking chamba, then eventually failing a dope test, a local agent revealed recently.
Unlike in the Super League where bad habits go unchecked, in foreign leagues, including in South Africa, players are subjected to random doping tests to avoid heavy fines.
Civo United veteran trainer, Alex Masanjala on Thursday admitted that it was difficult for him to detect playersâ€™ habits during trials in the absence of their background information “but on the pitch, I look for their technical ability”.