Coach Callisto Pasuwa has explained why he put some of his players who were with the Flames on the bench during Nyasa Big Bullets’ TNM Super League games last weekend.
The Zimbabwean coach said the players did not have enough time to train with the team during the preseason and when the league was on break due to Covid-19.
Goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe, defenders Precious Sambani and Nickson Nyasulu, midfielders Chimwemwe Idana and Chimango Kayira were with the national team since February for a prolonged camp in preparation for crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Uganda and South Sudan.
The players also missed part of the preseason training in November 2020 since they were in camp in preparation for the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against Burkina Faso.
Out of the five, who are all part of the starting team, only Sambani was in the first eleven in the two matches against Mzuzu Warriors and Mighty Tigers which they also won 3-0 and 2-0, respectively.
In an interview after Thursday’s training in preparation for Saturday’s away match against Salima-based Mafco at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe, Pasuwa said it has been tough for the players to catch up with their teammates.
He said: “You see, we didn’t have time to train with these guys. What we are saying is when we are in preseason, every player knows if I say go to the right what he is supposed to do.
“If I say go to the left, he knows what to do. In every system that we use, they have to know what to do.”
The coach said this has forced him to use the players that were with him full time during the break.
Said Pasuwa: “I am in a situation in which I have been training with players who don’t play in first eleven.
“Later when we are playing games, we have the players who were with the national team and you have to talk to them in theory what to do instead of them just doing what they have been practising in preseason.”
On his part, assistant coach Peter Mponda said the team is ready for the Mafco, who are sixth with 17 points from 11 matches.
“We know it’s going to be tough since we are playing away. But we are ready for them,” he said.
Bullets moved to fifth with 18 points from nine matches following their victory over Tigers and Warriors.