SuperSport's Soccer Africa anchor and football analyst Thomas Mlambo has praised Flames defender Limbikani Mzava after a splendid performance for Bloemfontein Celtic against Orlando Pirates last Sunday.
The most travelled Mlambo – whose career highlight was the coverage of Fifa World Cup in Germany in 2006 –tweeted last Sunday: I must give Limbikani Mzava credit ... his delivery from crosses today and his defensive abilities are remarkable for an 18-year-old. Mlambo, who dumped his law degree studies while in third year to pursue a career in the media, is an admirer of young talent.
In an interview with www.michezoafrika.com in August this year, Mlambo the future of African football is youth development arguing that football associations must not over-emphasise on senior teams.
"We have great players in Africa with immense talent. The problem with us is that we put too much emphasis on the senior teams forgetting that we need to focus on where this talent is coming from. Youth development is the key to making African soccer great."
In an interview from Bloemfontein, South Africa yesterday Mzava said he kept on believing that someday he would have the chance to play.
"I thank God that I have the chance to play here in South Africa. I also thank the coaches who have always encouraged me to work hard. "There are a lot of talented players in Malawi and I am optimistic that a lot of them will play professional football very soon," he said.
Mzava said despite not seeing game time last season, he kept on working very hard.
"The bond with my team mates is very strong because I kept on training hard. The only secret is working hard because talent alone is not enough to earn you a place in a very competitive team," he said.
Mzava, who is the youngest player in Celtic's starting 11 at the moment, played for the junior Flames. The youth system in Malawi has also produced the likes of Peter Mponda, Robert Ng'ambi, Esau Kanyenda and James Sangala.
The talented defender, who is also comfortable in midfield, shifted from Escom to Celtic in 2011 but did not feature in the league for the Bloemfontein side. This season he has already played nine times including the Sunday encounter against Pirates and a loss on Wednesday against Maritzburg United.
The former Tigers FC player failed to clinch a deal with AS Monaco in France earlier this year but he has made an impressive start with Celtic this season.
Mzava, is vying for a permanent spot in Flames defence following the temporary exit of Elvis Kafoteka who has been an outstanding right back for Malawi for several years.
"I watched the game on Sunday on TV and I was impressed with his performance. He has improved greatly, he has coaches who are assisting him and the experience he has gained has fast-tracked his development," said Kafoteka in an interview yesterday. Kafoteka is working to regain his fitness and now he is training with Escom.
"I am getting there and I hope to return to action very soon," he said.
Mzava is capped 12 times after making his debut for Flames in 2010.