Let U-20 finish Afcon qualifiers

As expected, there is a good slice of the football fraternity that would like us to believe that the Flames, having collected just three miserable points from a possible 12 in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group B qualifiers, can still trace their way to the finals next January.

Is this day-dreaming or dreaming in colour copied and pasted the wrong way?

This thing of trying to, by hook or crook, leave empty legacies for selfish reasons has let down Malawi football big time.

I know that management practices entail that leaders should be the last to publicly give up on a cause, but at what cost does Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, as quoted in the press, make Malawians believe that the Flames stand a chance to beat Mali and Ethiopia?

Mr Nyamilandu is entitled to his opinion, but the danger is that fans take whatever FAM utters as gospel truth, leading to a backlash when things go wrong. Good management is also about managing expectations.

Mali come to Malawi knowing that three points would seal their Afcon berth from the group, should we begin to cheat ourselves that the Flames can beat the Eagles, let alone win at the high altitude of Ethiopia three days later?

Even if the Flames salvage something from the remaining two games, I will not read too much into it because football has taught me the identity of flukes. And flukes shall always be flukes.

The most sensible thing that the Flames coaches can do is to build a team for 2017 Afcon finals by fusing in the team most players from that impressive Under-20 national team that was two games away from qualifying for Africa Youth finals with an impressive haul of four wins and two losses in six games.

Let the Junior Flames’ players such as Brighton Munthali, Miracle Gabeya, Boston Kabango, Dalitso Sailesi, Ernest Tambe, Chawanangwa Kawonga and Stanley Sanudi be drafted in the Flames to take on Mali and Ethiopia.

It is better losing 5-0 when you have featured a team with genuine teenage players than these 30-year-olds who dominate the Flames.

But then thinking and behaving long-term is never in the DNA of FAM.

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