The Flames qualified for their third African cup of Nations last year, thanks to Meck Mwase’s productive tactics against Burkina Faso, Uganda, and South Sudan.
Our boys were arguably odds-on favourites to finish third in the group, below Burkina Faso, and Uganda, and above minnows South Sudan.
Against all odds, the Mwase charges pulled a surprise in a decider against Uganda at Kamuzu Stadium. That Richard Mbulu’s header after receiving a beautiful ball from full back Stanley Sanudi booked Malawi the ticket to Cameroon.
In a post-match interview, Football Association of Malawi President himself made it very clear that Mwase was the ideal figure to remain in charge of our boys.
Then came Cosafa Cup, Mwase trusted a young inexperienced squad with the aim of glooming some of the players therein ahead of the tournament. To put it in a better explanation, this was an experimental tournament where the gods of positive result were not likely to favour us.
At the regional tournament, Malawi played against Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and guests Senegal. On a sad note, our team only managed a point against Zimbabwe in an opener which ended in a two all draw. Then Mozambique got the better of Malawi by edging two past our trusted shot stoppers. Then Senegal rubbed red paper on the wounds having beaten us by two goals to one.
Despite our poor results, two of our matured players Khuda Muyaba and Schumacher Kuwali who were in the company of the young squad performed well. The former scored two while the latter netted one.
After the regional tournament, a lot was said about Mwase’s unproductive tactics at the tournament. After a few weeks, we heard about the coming of a Romanian in the name of Marian Mario Marinica.
He wore the robe of a Technical Director but alas! His role changed in a matter of weeks before the continental tournament. We heard that Marinica was going to take charge of the team in Cameroon.
Then the team went to Saudi Arabia for camping and Marinica was in charge of the team. The camping period elapsed and the team headed to Cameroon for the tournament to face Senegal, Guinea, and Zimbabwe in the group stages.
Mwase took charge of the first two group games against Guinea and Zimbabwe because the Romanian was down with Covid-19. And it is his crucial three points against Zimbabwe which helped Malawi to make it to the round of 16. In that game Malawi came from behind to beat the warriors by two goals to one.
In a nutshell, Meck took charge of two group games and collected three points, while Marinica also took charge of the same number of games. The first was against Senegal in the group’s last game where he managed a point.
His second game was against Morocco in the round of 16 where Malawi lost by two goals to one.
As if Meck’s record was not good enough, Marinica maintained the Malawian’s first eleven in his two games. Then in his second game, he made useless substitutions which yielded nothing.
So FAM is telling us that Marinica has been taken onboard because he performed wonders at the Afcon as compared to Mwase. The question is which records is the football governing body referring to.
All in all God bless the Flames!