Malawi needs to commit massive investment in grass-root soccer to prevent the sport from collapsing, Roscher Youth Development Centre, a nongovernmental organisation based in Rumphi has observed.
The organization’s Executive Director, Moir Walita, said the general declining standards of the sport and increased incidents of violence at soccer venues are due to lack of sufficient knowledge in basic skills of soccer among grass root coaches who are key stakeholders in the sport.
Walita made the observation during a day-long special training course conducted in the district over the week-end for 22 soccer coaches from local clubs in the district. They were trained in basic rules of soccer.
“The standard of soccer in the district continues to decline and incidents of violence at our grounds are increasing. This is because many soccer coaches and club administrators are ignorant of basic rules of the game.
“Most of the coaches are just handpicked to coach teams but are without thorough knowledge in the sport. As a result they are in constant conflict with the officiating personnel which mostly ends in trouble,” observed Walita.
Since top level Malawi football depends on that at grass root for its survival, Walita observed that if grass root football sport is shaky, the standards will be pathetic at national level.
“If the grass root has problems then most of the top local clubs who rely on the raw talent from the grass root will not produce quality players for the national team,” he said.
Noting that rules of soccer keep on changing, it was generally observed that there was great need for the country to invest a lot of resources in the training of those who nurture the football talent at grass root level.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) representative in the district, Tobias Mwale, concurred with Roscher Youth Development Centre Executive Director on lack of thorough knowledge among grass root football coaches in the country.
He said the training initiative taken by the youth organization would improve the quality of football sport at district as well as national level. “We do not have many well trained coaches conversant with the sport in the district. But with Roscher initiative, most of the clubs’ coaches will be equipped with relevant knowledge to identify and sharpen raw talent.
“This will, in turn, assist major clubs in the country and the national team to get the right crop of players in future,” said Mwale.
One of the participants, Innocent Nyirenda, a coach for Ng’onga United said the knowledge he gained during the course will assist him to improve his coaching skills.
“As a coach, the course has assisted me a lot. I will be able to impart the right knowledge to my players, especially on new rules of the game.
“Most of us coaches have been ignorant of the rules of the game that have just been introduced in the recent past,” he said.
On her part, Pilirani Gondwe, one of the two female coaches that attended the course also said the knowledge gained will help her to develop women soccer whose standards are said to be low in the district.
Roscher Youth Development Centre gets support from the German Government through Support Malawi Organisation, a German based nongovernmental organisation.
The organisation recently held a similar training course which targeted primary school teachers. During that training, 400 match balls were distributed to all primary schools in the district and some to Karonga Teachers Training College

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