If you believe in everything good about the Flames, my message is that before investing your hope in the team, which is under reconstruction, take each game at a time, relax and don’t forget fastening your seat belts.
Reason? The road to 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Morocco is long and windy. There will be pot-holes, bumps and humps along the way requiring reasonable resources, depth of squad and strategy on and off the pitch.
Three games into coach Young Chimodzi’s reign, I do not think he has the luxury of players at his disposal.
To quote Charles Nyirenda, the team has only 13 quality players, but it needs 30.
The recall of James Sangala proves that Chimodzi has a difficult job identifying a leader of the defence, while at the same time satisfying expectations of results.
Players’ development is a long process that goes beyond Chimodzi.
On resources, Carlsberg Malawi’s K250 million sponsorship spread over three years is a boost to the Flames, but even more money would be required; otherwise. it would be difficult getting to Morocco.
Let me explain why I am sceptical. If Malawi sails past Chad, they date either Sao Tome or Benin over two legs.
In the likely event that the Flames sneak past either Benin or Sao Tome, Malawi will be thrown in Group B where Mali, Ethiopia and Algeria lie in wait, translating to six games or two-legged three matches.
Thereafter, group leaders and runners-ups would fly to Morocco, whereas the third-placed sides would compete against others across 15 groups for a third best loser’s slot.
On these premises, I am for the Flames using the Afcon qualifiers to build up for the 2014 Cosafa Cup, than amplifying expectations that Malawi can qualify for Afcon.