I had not planned to comment on the women's national football team 7-0 massacre in Zambia last Saturday until I got this anonymous sms that screamed:
"Women football isankha bwanji a vice president kukhala team manager? Ku Flames sitinayambe tamva kuti Moses Mkandawire wapita ndi team ngati 'team manager'. Team iyi kuti idzachite bwino technical panel yonse ichoke apart from head coach. Za mpira si zamnyumba. We like the team." (Why would a vice president be appointed as team manager? We have never heard of Fam vice president being Flames team manager. For this team to perform, the whole technical panel, except the coach, should be sacked. Let's not personalize football. We like the team)
It was not in the interest of Reflections on Sports to comment on this issue until Fam officially gives an explanation on what exactly happened in Zambia.
The rationale was that why comment on the issue before the FA had called a press conference to explain circumstances that led to the disaster in Zambia?
But later that day when I was chatting with some soccer fans on Facebook, I also got comments that had a similar message:
"Do these people really understand the economic status of our country that they can afford to go to Zambia using government money only to lose 7-0 to a team that is not even ranked on Fifa's women's rankings?"
I had no answer to such a valid question, how could I when the ones responsible for these matters had shut their mouths.
Up to now, there has not been any official explanation except that the girls 'didn't want to play'.
Well the girls didn't want to play, why didn't the girls want to play? I thought if the girls didn't want to play then there must be an underlying factor behind this apathy. And if they did it once then they might do it again in the second leg! What is Fam doing about that?
Coach Temwa Msuku is the only person who confessed that the team had faced numerous problems prior to the game.
I would not want to call this as a scapegoat. No. Msuku has been honest enough to spill the beans that he has been facing several problems.
And even though he didn't mention the problems he faced, one of the challenges is that Msuku is not fully in charge of the team.
Some say he was not even involved in selection of the national team players. Well, of course he is a new coach but I believe a coach is supposed to pick his own players and this should start with the second leg game against Zambia on January 28.
Fam secretariat should also stop interfering in the technical matters. Leave the coaching and selection of players to the technical panel and no personal differences should be extended to the pitch.
You might involve personal differences in men's football and get away with it, but not in women's football. A man might suffer in silent, but not girls; they will expose you.
I guess, whoever was disciplining the girls who were sidelined in the first game thought threats would keep the matter under wraps, but now he must have a different view.
As the anonymous sms that I got clearly stated, it is absurd for a vice president and Fam executive committee member to be in the technical panel.
Cleary these two guys are the coach's bosses and yet at the national team they are supposed to be his juniors.
Such an arrangement makes the coach's job tough as he has to make decisions which some of the technical members, who are his bosses, might resent.
The result is that the coach is just a figurehead, yet when the team's performance is plummeting, it is his head that would eventually face the guillotine.