It has emerged that the reason for dropping some players from the national soccer team was because they sneaked into their hotel rooms in Zambia with women during the Cosafa Cup.
A well-placed source disclosed to The Nation that coach Tom Saintfiet was not amused with the conduct of four players [names with-held] and recommended a fine and immediate suspension to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
However, one of the culprits—a foreign-based player—has still been included in the squad that has travelled to Rwanda for Wednesday’s strength-testing match.
“Soon after the match against Angola, the four players smuggled women into their rooms and the coach [Tom Saintfiet] was very discontented and recommended that they [players] be punished.
“He actually issued a stern lecture to them,” said the source.
Saintfiet could neither confirm nor deny the crime, but said the issue was taken up with FAM and Sports Council.
“As I mentioned earlier on, some players were involved in serious disciplinary issues, but we do not want to mention names. We are treating it as a father and son issue, suffice to say discipline is of paramount importance and we are not going to compromise on issues of discipline.
“Players must follow guidelines all the time,” said Saintfiet on Sunday.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu and Sports Council executive secretary George Jana confirmed that there were indeed serious disciplinary issues involving the players that were discussed upon the team’s return from Zambia.
Said Nyamilandu: “The issues that were reported to us were embarrassing, shameful and unacceptable.
“Allowances were deducted from the players that were involved and we proceeded to write them warning letters.”
The FAM boss also said while people might have problems with the association and coaches, some problems are to do with the unruly behaviour of players.
Asked to justify the inclusion of one the players who were involved in the mischief in the squad that will face Rwanda in Kigali on Wednesday, Nyamilandu said: “Some players were given the benefit of the doubt depending on how they reacted. There were others who displayed a lot of remorse while others did not.”
A Flames fan, Patrick Tsonga, said while players are human and are expected to have fun, it should not be at the expense of their duty be it at club or national level.