As the count down to May 2014 elections draws closer to the first vote cast with now exactly a year away, most stakeholders are putting together their plans into perspective. One such stakeholder is the online @Malawi2014 which has released the national team training call up in readiness to the 2014 championship.
The training according to the world acclaimed UEFA class A trainer, 81 year old John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo, will initially be non residential with a series of body building exercises through marathon whistle stop tours across all the hot spots in Malawi. This will be followed by a series of strength testing matches at selected and accredited freedom parks across the country.
Just like the Malawi Flames recent call up which had some few professionals, the Malawi 2014 team has also been blessed with a few professional players. Notable amongst the list is the now clubless, Thoko Banda whose international transfer certificate (ITC) is yet to be processed. Others recalls include James Nyondo and Lawrence Sichinga who pry their trades with some unknown clubs overseas.
For the first time in a call up history for Malawi, the Malawi 2014 team will have an in house religious affairs contact person in the name of Reverend Dr. Lazarus Chakwera as Chaplain. In addition, former Malawi captain, chartered marketer and self acclaimed football engineer, Dr. Bakili Muluzi will form the line up as Team Chairperson and Patron. Should the team have any labour or footballing squabbles, they should rest assured as they have some legal minds at their disposal being Lovemore Munlo as Chief Legal Officer and assisted by SRFLâ€™s PETRAâ€™s Kamuzu Chibambo.
Leading the pack of players, is the countryâ€™s number one citizen and Peoples Party founder and incumbent captain, 63 year old Dr. Joyce Mtila Banda.
According to analysts, she holds a good footballing track record having played in the premier league for UDF and later as a first female assistant goalkeeper in the Super League under the DPP of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Coincidentally, her husband, the first gentleman was also a star in the Malawi Flames of those Kamuzu-something years which managed to bring glory and smiles to the nation on several occasions when the nation needed them most especially after a session or two with MCPâ€™s Youth Leaguers.
Going by the list, she is currently the only goal keeper that has made it to the call goal keeper position.
On Defenders, the list has long serving MCPâ€™s John â€˜JZUâ€™ Tembo who has also been named as interim coach for the team. It is yet to be established why he has been awarded such two demanding portfolios. On the contrary, we believe the team will benefit from his wide experience besides not winning any visible accolades for the team at national level in the Malawiâ€™s post multiparty era.
Other defenders include MCPâ€™s Bestoni Majoni, Jodda Kanjere and Lyton Dzombe. All are aspiring for leadership within their 50 year old club.
Another defender that has been called up is transport entrepreneur and Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) sole striker and captain Mark Katsonga Phiri. Hopefully, because of his transportation background, he has also been named as Transport Manager for the Malawi 2014 Team. Speculations are even abound he has pledged to offer one of his once luxurious coaches to transport players to their training grounds scattered all over the country.
On the mid fielders, the team has been blessed with currently 4 players. DPP has contributed 1 player and the other 2 from MCP and the forth from National Salvation Front (NASAF) being captain James Nyondo.
To lead the mid field might be the law professor and 72/3 year old DPP captain Peter Mutharika, a brother to the late DPPâ€™s captain, Bingu wa Mutharika who also led a successful campaign at national level on two occasions. It is reported he still has the manual the late brother used.
Another notable to watch out is MCPâ€™s Dr. Chris Daza who under his club MCP is the Team Manager, aka Secretary General.
Finally, to complete the midfield probable line up is another MCP club captain contender, Felix Jumbe. Under the @Malawi2014 call up, he has been tasked with another role of Team Manager besides marshaling the central midfield.
On strikers, UDFâ€™s contribution is through their captain and 35 year old, (though contentious) Austin Atupele Muluzi. Others include MCPâ€™s Nkhota Kota select player, Edwin Banda and fly whisk captain of African Nyasaland Party Lawrence Sichinga. Completing the list is 5 decades old clubless/freelancer and US import, Thoko Banda. No relation to the goalkeeper in the call list but son to another former club player under MCP, UDF and later captain of PPM, Aleke Banda. On the other hand, he is currently playing â€˜socialsâ€™ with Atupele Muluziâ€™s Change Agenda team, hopefully to keep shape.
The team will be under the guidance of long experienced and no nonsense conservative coach, John â€˜JZUâ€™ Tembo of the â€˜Section 65 # 1, Budget # 2â€² fame.
The list according to the Chairperson and Patron, Dr. Bakili Maluzi, a former Kasupe MP and the countryâ€™s former captain, will keep adjusting as more teams get registered or alliances get established. Such notable players include Loveness Gondwe of NARC, Friday Jumbe of New Labour Party or the Chipani Cha Pfuko of Davis Chester Katsonga who are yet to start scoring goals in the respective clubs.
The whole list of players and officials is as follows:
Goalkeeper: Joyce Mtila Banda(PP);
Defenders: John â€˜JZUâ€™ Tembo(MCP), Bestoni Majoni(MCP), Lyton Dzombe(MCP), Mark Katsonga Phiri(PPM), Jodda Kanjere(MCP).
Mid filders: Peter Mutharika(DPP), Chris Daza(MCP), James Nyondo(NASAF), Felix Jumbe(MCP).
Strikers: Austin Atupele Muluzu(UDF), Edwin Banda(MCP), Lawrence Sichinga(ANP), Thoko Banda(Freelancer/Clubless)
Team Chairperson and Patron: Dr. Bakili Muluzi
Coach/Player: John â€˜JZUâ€™ Tembo,
Team Manager: Felix Jumbe,
Chaplain: Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera,
Chief Legal Officer: Lovemore Munlo,
Assistant Legal Officer: Kamuzu Chibambo,
Transport Manager: Mark Katsonga Phiri,
Team Doctor: Lawrence Sichinga
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