No two ways about it

Why is it that almost always when there is a buzz around the place someone just wants to come in as a party spoiler? Do we just love to steal the limelight or burst other people’s bubbles?

Time has come for us to expose such people for what they are and not allow them to get away with their deplorable behaviour. They must account for their words and actions.

Just in case I am sounding cryptic, you will recall that most of my discussion last week was centred on the exciting news that the country’s historical powerhouses on the football scene, Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers, had been financially rescued by Carlsberg Malawi, courtesy of the intervention of Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu.

The development was always going to be a landmark breakthrough, but it assumed more significance because it marked the fulfilment of one of Nyamilandu’s pre-election promises last year. Not many took his promises seriously because it was difficult to see how someone who was around as the clubs lost their financial support could suddenly pose as their saviour.

With this promise fulfilled, attention has inevitably shifted to other promises on the list. For many of us, the other major promise that attracted a lot of debate in various public discussions was that the Flames will make it to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. Would this promise come to pass as well? Not if national coach Kinnah Phiri has anything to do with it.

For avoidance of doubt, Kinnah is an employee of FAM for which Nyamilandu is president. If the president promised Malawians that the Flames will be on the plane to Brazil in 2014, it should be safe to assume that everyone within the association is working towards that goal. Indeed, that is a benchmark on which success or failure of this regime will be measured.

So, what was Kinnah trying to do in telling us that qualification for the World Cup is not his target? Is he trying to tell us that Nyamilandu said one thing in public and another in private? Or has he chosen this opportunity to publicly reject the target set for him by the bosses? And what do the bosses have to say about that?

I know coaches sometimes speak like this to lift the pressure off their players’ shoulders, but Kinnah should be under no illusions that Malawians will accept anything other than qualification for the 2014 World Cup. It is a promise that his president made and we expect that to be the target set for him and his charges. Anything short of that will be considered as failure.

There has been mixed reaction to the Flames draw against Kenya’s Harambee Stars in Nairobi last week. Some think that the result shows we are not improving at all. Others think in round robin tournaments, it is important to avoid defeat away from home and a draw is creditable.

I take the middle-line view. Ordinarily, an away draw is very crucial because it reduces the chances of your hosts to be real competitors if you can then beat them at home. When your opponents are like Kenya, however, teams like Flames should, with all due respect to the East Africans, be aiming higher than a draw especially where there are no guarantees that we can get something from bigger guns.

That said, we have no excuse for not beating the Super Eagles today. We are at home and have had a relatively good home record. And, lest we forget, we are supposed to go to Brazil. No two ways about it.

Share This Post