It was time for internationals on Wednesday and while other football associations were engaged in friendlies and competitive fixtures, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) was busy mending the strained relationship within its technical panel. Quite an important exercise, one would say, but the differences should not have been there in the first place. These are two adults who should be able to face each other.
So, another opportunity to tune up passed us by and we are now pinning our football hopes on the Cecafa Senior Challenge. It is a pity that FAM had to choose between participating in this tournament and a friendly match on Wednesday because the ideal situation would have been engaging in both. But that is what happens when a football body relies wholly on government funding with no other worthwhile strategic alliances.
Meanwhile, our ladies who were in New Zealand for the Fast5 World Netball Series returned this week after becoming number five in the tournament. There were encouraging performances there but in a tournament that had only six teams one has to careful in oneâ€™s celebrations. Beating Australia and England was sensational but the loss to South Africa was as worrying as the defeat to Jamaica was painful.
Indeed, when you consider that Australia were beaten by almost everybody else, the only major breakthrough was beating eventual finalists England. The margin by which continental rivals, the Proteas, beat us was particularly telling because it showed that the investment that is going into South African netball is paying dividends and days when they were perennially playing second fiddle to us could be numbered.
This is not to spoil the party seeing that the overall mood in the country is that of excitement. It is only meant to warn us that unless we improve on several things, the one thing that has made us smile on the international sports scene might not be there tomorrow. There is always a correlation between the level of investment and output and we cannot expect to continue soaring without corresponding action.
Away from home and in the English Premier League, it is derby day in North London in this afternoonâ€™s early kick-off and after disappointing results for both sides last week it is a fixture that will create anxiety for both sets of fans. A loss for either giant, while not necessarily fatal, would exact severe mental damage as we move closer towards the midway point of the season.
Other than this fixture, the other interesting match-up will be at the Hawthorns where this seasonâ€™s surprise package West Bromwich Albion host Chelsea. This would almost be a foregone result in previous seasons but Roberto di Matteo will be returning to his former side fully aware that this afternoonâ€™s game will be anything but straight-forward. Steve Clarke will also be seeking to put one over his former employers.
In closing, I would like to wish Flames striker Esau Kanyenda all the best as he continues with his recovery after being involved in a fatal traffic accident when his Polokwane FC were returning from a league assignment. Apart from convalescing from the physical injuries there will also be need for him to recover from that inevitable trauma of seeing four teammates die in such an accident. I hope FAM will take interest in the whole process.