Be Forward Wanderers and Masters Security’s shambolic displays on the road in Confederation of African Football (Caf) competitions over the weekend reflect the slump in domestic football standards, analysts have observed.
However, Wanderers Team Manager, Steve Madeira, insisted that his charges can overturn the 4-0 loss they suffered to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s AS Vita at Omnisports Stade des Matyrs in Kinshasa on Sunday.
“The battle is not over. We have seen our weaknesses and we will rectify them in Malawi,” said Madeira, whose side need to win by five unanswered goals in the preliminary round second-leg tie at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on February 21 to proceed in the competition.
Masters, who lost 5-0 to Atletico Petroleos de Luanda on Saturday, need to, if they are to proceed to the first-round, win by a margin of six unanswered goals in the home tie scheduled for the Lilongwe giant arena on February 20.
But defender George Nyirenda, who was until recently playing for Nyasa Big Bullets, said he was not surprised by the struggles of Wanderers and Masters.
“Our league is far [behind]. The truth is that Malawi players are not fit. They don’t work hard for their bodies. I remember when I was in Zimbabwe [playing for Caps United], I was much fitter than when I was at Bullets.
“They [in Zimbabwe] recruit physical fitness trainers who work with players. You go to the gym and work out with them. A coach is there for tactical issues,” Nyirenda said.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Technical Director, John Kaputa, yesterday said he would only comment on Wanderers and Masters’ performance after analysing the games and discussing with coaches for both clubs.
Former Fam general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, said the heavy away defeats should give Wanderers and Masters a lesson on why it is important to do pre-match analysis of opponents and hire performance analysts.
“Mind you, the DRC [team] sent a person disguised as looking for accommodation, not knowing that this person was spying on Wanderers, particularly during their friendly matches.
“[Additionally], mental preparation is an important factor in modern football, and it is time that Malawi football invested in experts such as performance analysts. It is a tall order to qualify to the next round but if the right things are done and the two clubs analyse and prepare their teams psychologically, miracles do happen in football,” Nyirenda said.
National Coaches Association Chairperson, Stuart Mbolembole, separately, Monday seemed to echo Nyirenda’s sentiments saying he doubted if Wanderers did their research on Vita’s style of play.
“I would excuse Masters but, for Wanderers, I expected them to do better considering that they have coaches who have travelled to these countries. This is an indication that our league is lagging behind a bit. This could have been the yardstick of our standards. We need a more professional attitude in the way we run football across the board,” Mbolembole said.