We love a game we don’t understand

The ongoing 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers have once again exposed Malawi as a dubious football nation that, through the Flames, tries to cheat its way to success using short-cuts paved by wild emotions and lust for miracles.

Thankfully, statistics reveal that in 50 years the Flames have barely made Afcon finals twice and never won any worthwhile trophy. No country glorifies Cecafa cups the way Malawians do.

Additionally, the 2014 statistics show plainly that in four of the six Afcon qualifiers that the Flames have played, they conceded goals in added time.

In two of these four matches, the Flames also conceded inside the first opening 15 minutes. In two other matches, the Flames let in goals late in the first half.

Concentration lapses that are common in amateurish teams are evident here.

In summary, the Flames have won thrice, drawn twice and lost eight games under Young Chimodzi while conceding 19 goals and scoring six.

These statistics represent the truth that the Flames lack professionals that can efficiently defend and score. They just dance with the ball.

This truth must free you of any false hopes being peddled that the Flames can qualify for 2015 Afcon finals.

If anything these expectations that are unreasonably placed on the Flames can only lead to one logical conclusion: Malawians love a game they hardly understand.

We have reduced football to kicking the ball. Yet, the Flames are supposed to be a final product of long-term investment in research, talent development and marketing. This demands specific targets, timelines and objectives.

Unfortunately, beyond the speeches and the documents, FAM does not even know who will coach and captain the Flames 10 years from now.

None of the local football administrators, from those of the 1970s, had a vision for the game. That is why clubs such as Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers do not have capital investments. The less that is said about Sulom and its ailing domestic league, the better.

Thankfully, we love a game that teaches humility, shuts you up, catches you red-handed and sobers you up.

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