Some clubs have described Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden’s (RVG) proposal to have week-long training camps every month as strange and not realistic.
RVG recently said he would propose monthly week-long camping to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) so that players can quickly adapt to his philosophy of keeping possession and playing a pass-and-move game.
But Be Forward Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao and his Silver Strikers counterpart Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda—whose clubs contributed the highest number of players during the last call-up—said the arrangement is only unique to Malawi.
Said Butao: “This is strange and specific to Malawi only. The national team is not a club. The world over, national teams only regroup for a week or less, plays a game or two in that period and disbands.
“Why can’t they have month-long training camps during off-season instead? Are we declaring a state of emergency in our football? If so, then we are ready to comply because we are patriotic citizens.”
The Nomads GS and Nyirenda said such an arrangement would have a negative effect on the part of clubs in terms of planning.
Said Nyirenda: “Logistically, it is not feasible because that would mean clubs not having their players for the entire week every month and in that case it becomes difficult for coaches to plan.
“The coach’s proposal is very strange and very unique to Malawi. Football is governed by rules and regulations which are supposed to guide us. Clubs do not exist to send players to the national team.”
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda also wondered whether the coach is transforming the national team into a club.
“This is tantamount to a laboratory experiment that cannot achieve much. It is also needlessly expensive.
“What is the main purpose for piloting such a scheme? Apart from disrupting club football activities, this proposal is retrogressive and there is no national team that became strong this way.
“National team players just come together for a few days for coordination purposes but skills development of players is left to clubs and not [the] national coach,” he said.
On his part, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the proposal would have to be critically looked into by the association’s executive committee.
“There are several critical areas that would have to be considered such as funding because even in the event that it is approved, it will have to be budgeted for.
“It is a good idea but its feasibility is another issue. So, I cannot say an outright yes, or no.
“There are also various stakeholders involved such as the Super League of Malawi [Sulom], the clubs themselves who own the players, Malawi National Council of Sports and the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development. We would want to do this without disrupting the domestic fixture calendar.
“Everything must grow but not at the expense of the other,” he said.
However, RVG said the proposal is part of his project to instil a new playing philosophy.
“I felt having just a week in a month would help speed up the process as we have  Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers coming up. This is a special project and that is why such a suggestion was made.” n