FAM has admitted that the Flames’ performance at the 2021 Cosafa Cup tournament is a cause for worry ahead of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals and 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The Malawi national football team failed to register a win at the regional showpiece and finished bottom of the five-team Group B.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said in an interview on Saturday that the poor showing should give the association and technical panel plenty of food for thought.
He said: “It does give us a cause for concern in terms of depth and quality of the Flames as well as its future potential.
“Most of the local players are lacking quality and experience to compete at international level.
“So, I must say that the tournament has been an eye opener of the gap that has to be bridged.”
The FAM president also said there is need to rebuild the team by giving a chance to young talented players “instead of over-relying on old, tried and tested players”.
Nyamilandu said: “This was the only chance to assess capable local players to be considered for the main team and unfortunately most of them didn’t impress.
“This gives food for thought for the coach to prepare a strong national team for the World Cup [qualifiers] this year and the Africa Nations finals next January.”
But Flames coach Meck Mwase told Cosafa television after the Flames’ last game against guest side Senegal in Port Elizabeth, South Africa that Malawi had a good tournament.
“Unfortunately, we did not win any game, but there are reasons. We were here to prepare for World Cup qualifiers and Afcon finals,” he said.
The Flames gaffer further said it was not all doom and gloom as he felt that some players such as midfielders Mike Mkwate and Vitumbiko Kumwenda proved that they deserve to be part of the major tournaments coming up.
The Flames, who were making their 20th attempt at the regional crown, drew their first game 2-2 against Zimbabwe’s Warriors before going down 2-0 to Mozambique’s Mambas.
They also played out a one-all draw against Namibia’s Brave Warriors before losing to the third-string Teranga Lions of Senegal 2-1 to bow out of the tournament.
Football analysts George Kaudza Masina and George Chiusiwa last week said the Flames’ poor showing exposed poor standards of the domestic top-flight league.