Be Forward Wanderers coach Yasin Osman has cast a doubt on the possibility of turning the tables against AS Vita in their reverse CAF Champions League match at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe on February 21.
The Nomads mentor said this in response to a question on how he rates his team’s chances of turning the tables in the return leg following their 4-0 humiliation at the hands of their Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opponents in the first leg in Kinshasa on Sunday.
Said Osman: “We need to work harder to get the required results. As it stands, only God knows if we can make it; funny things happen in football.”
The Nomads were the third worst losers out of 23 CAF (Confederation of African Football) Champions League preliminary matches last weekend. Benfica Bissau FC of Guinea Bissau were the worst losers as they lost 0-10 to Moroccan outfit Jadida FC while Central African Republic’s Olympique Real Bangui—who lost 6-0 to ES Setif of Algeria—were the second worst losers in the African club championship preliminaries.
In CAF Confederation Cup, Wanderers’ compatriots Masters Security FC were the worst losers out of 20 preliminary round matches that were played at the weekend after a 5-0 defeat by Atletico Petroleos de Luanda in Angola on Saturday.
Wanderers need to win by a five-goal margin at the BNS to sail through to the next round while Masters need to triumph by six goals at the same venue on February 20.
But soccer analysts Charles Nyirenda, Felix Ngamanya Sapao and George Kaudza Masina yesterday said the poor results mirror glaring shortcomings in local football, which they said goes beyond the clubs’ preparedness for the continental competitions as it has to do with the quality of players.
Said Nyirenda: “These days, we do not produce enough quality players to make strong teams, including the senior national team. Of course, both Wanderers and Masters made impulsive decisions to participate in CAF events without proper preparations but, judging from the track records of their respective opponents, they had tough assignments from the outset.
“To an extent, the defensive postures the two teams deployed may have contributed to the heavy defeats but, overall, both our teams were always going to struggle owing to insufficient high grade players.”
According to Sapao, the poor results were expected because “when the country’s top-flight league votes for a player, who previously could not make it into the starting-11 at a foreign club, as player of the season, then it just shows that the standards are low.”
Despite that, he attributed the malaise to the country’s lack of seriousness in terms of investment, mindset and approach to the game.
“Our colleagues have performance analysts, who evaluate player performance using technology and study the opposition in the technical team. I have interacted with clubs when they prepare for continental football, thanks to my association with Lagadere Sports, organisers of CAF competitions’ group stages. The mindset and approach of clubs in other countries is very different to what happens locally,” Sapao said.
On his part, Kaudza Masina concurred with Sapao that the big losses show that the standard of football in Malawi is miles apart from that of other African countries.
“It should be appreciated that our football standards have just been deteriorating over the years as compared to the 1980s and 1990s when Malawi was a force to reckon with in Africa. Our football is still at an amateur level and the latest losses are justified.
“Apart from that, Wanderers and Masters’ preparations were just a mess as if they did not know what they were doing. It could have taken a miracle to pull a surprise. Maybe, the only solace is that they have learnt a lesson or two in their sojourns,” he said.