Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has said planning for the Flames’ next assignment against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars in four weeks time awaits the return of coach Ernest Mtawali and his assistant Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan from South Africa.
The Flames are scheduled to travel to Tanzania for their 2018 World Cup first preliminary round, scheduled for the first week of next month.
Mtawali and Ramadhan did not return with the team after last Sunday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland’s Sihlangu Semnikati which ended in a two-all draw.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said the coaches excused themselves for a week to make arrangements to bring their families into the country.
“This was a prior arrangement. Ernest and Ramadhan are in Johannesburg and Durban respectively, where their families are based and we expect them back this coming weekend.
“We cannot, therefore, start planning on the technical aspects in the absence of the two key gentlemen. However, as regards the logistical part, we have already started,” said Nyirenda.
He added: “We plan in accordance with the technical panel’s recommendations as per their programme.
“Apart from the plan for the Tanzania match, we’ll also be expecting a report on the Swaziland match.”
Mtawali said although they were [with Ramadhan] yet to sit down and draw a programme for Tanzania, in essence they had already started the ground work.
“We watched their [Tanzania] 2017 Afcon qualifier against Nigeria and it gave us a clue on what to expect from them and based on their performance on Saturday, they are a good side.
“Honestly, the result was not a fair reflection of the game. Tanzania dominated and perhaps with an ounce of luck, they should have won,” he said.
However, the Flames mentor said while he observed that the Tanzanians were pacy and comfortable on the ball, their frontline was blunt.
Football analyst Charles Nyirenda said: “Tanzania have improved a lot. They mostly use the wings and play a good passing game, sweet to the eye. They attack mostly using the wings, but if Mtawali can work on defending which seems to be our main weakness now, we should be able to handle them.”
Flames captain Limbikani Mzava also said they watched the Tanzania game in Swaziland.
“The coach reminded us on the need to watch the game and study Tanzania’s style of play. On that day, they played well. They dominated the pace of the game and were comfortable on the ball, but we detected some weaknesses too,” he said.