Malawi has been trying for a long time, without success, to qualify for the greatest football tournament on earth. Jameson Makande suggests another way forward
THE World Cup tournament that is currently going on in Russia provides another example of our failure to get onto the field, let alone our ability to qualify for it.
We could have been among the five African teams out of the 32 that participate in the tournament. But we failed to beat our opponents even at the lowest levels.
The question is: what are we doing wrong, when other nations such as the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt regularly manage to get through?
We have switched manager after manager to try to boost our chances, but the best we have managed to do is qualify in sending a young boy to collect the ball when it goes out of the field of play.
The world’s governing body of football, FIFA, has now given us a glimmer of hope following its announcement that it will increase the number of teams to 48 in the 2026 World Cup competition.
Could we be among the participating countries from Africa whose numbers will also be increased?
The question is worth asking because we now have about eight 8 years in which we need to start preparing for the next tournament which will be hosted in three countries; USA, Mexico and Canada.
So, what is it that we need to do within our means, to bring about the necessary changes?
One of our novelists, Tiyambe Zeleza, offers a point worth considering. He says through a character in one of his novels: “We don’t just need a new driver to run the country, we need a new bus”
A good number of people that I have asked with, agree with this view. Malawi’s national football team, they say, doesn’t need a new coach. It needs a whole new team of talented young players.
Our national football team is currently filled with old timers. It needs a radical change. We need to learn from what teams like England, Germany, Spain and Brazil have done, by bringing in young players and dropping the ageing players.
The long-serving players that some of us admired back in our primary school days, now need to be given a rest.
There are many young, talented and skillful players in the rural areas of Malawi. These are diamonds in the dirt that we need to pick up, polish and let them shine on the world stage.
This is no longer a task alone for the Football Association of Malawi, FAM. We all need to assist in the patriotic duty of unearthing new football talent.
We also need to think what the football association of Ghana did. It took a break from international participation by cleaning up its house and preparing for a better future.
Let’s think about this. We cannot continue embarrassing ourselves.
What do others think? Do you agree or disagree? Send your views to : firstname.lastname@example.org