The Executive Director of the organisation, Moir Walita says Malawi’s soccer fraternity should not celebrate the country’s current global position of 106 on the FIFA ranking but instead should seriously weigh ways to improve the situation.
“We might be saying that the government or the corporate is not investing much in the topflight football.
Sometimes we might even blame the coaches and keep on changing them now and then. But what are we doing to change things on the grass root on the training of key personnel?” he says.
Walita also observes that top level Malawi football depends on the grass root for its survival as such if the grass root is shaky the game standards will be pathetic on the national and international level.
“If the grass root has problems then most of the local clubs who rely on the raw talent from the grass root will not produce quality players for the national team,” he says.
Roscher Youth Development Centre is being supported by Germany Government through Support Malawi Organisation, a German based nongovernmental organisation.
The organisation last held a similar training course that targeted primary school teachers in the district.
Walita recalls in the past Rumphi was renowned for churning out exciting individual talent and classic standard of the game but in recent years that lustre has been lost.
Most of the games involving clubs based in Rumphi have lately been degenerating into fist fights which he says are stirred up because people who must know the rules like coaches and club administrators but are ignorant of these new rules.
“The general standards of the game of soccer in our district are continuing to decline. Incidents of violence at matches are a regular occurrence. This is so because many soccer coaches and club administrators are ignorant of basic rules of the game,” he explains.
“Most of the coaches are just handpicked to coach teams but are without any knowledge of the game. As a result they are in constant conflict with officiating personnel which mostly ends in trouble,” says Walita.
He made the observation recently during a daylong basic training course that targeted coaches and club administrators.
The seminar was aimed at updating participants on the changes in the basic rules and general laws of the game and was facilitated by, Mike Misinjo one of the country’s high profiled referees trainer.
The course targeted 22 soccer coaches from some of prominent clubs in the district and two of the participants were female coaches.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) representative in the town, Tobias Chapweteka Mwale commends Roscher Youth Development Centre for the initiative to train grass-root coaches.
He says the initiative will go in long way in improving the standards of the game in the on the national level and its benefits would also be rubbed on the international level.
“We do not have many well trained coaches conversant with the game in the district. But with Roscher initiative most of the clubs coaches will be equipped with relevant knowledge to identify and hone raw talent.
This will in turn assist major clubs in the country topflight league and the national team to get perfect crop of players in the future,” explains Mwale.
He therefore calls for the reintroduction of district coaches who will be there to identify raw talent on the district level saying the absence of district coach structure has created a yawning gap towards development of the game on the national level.
But Pilirani Gondwe a female coach in the town says the course has provided her with relevant knowledge to develop women soccer which is still in its infancy in the country.
“Women soccer in Rumphi is far behind. But I think if many of us in the district would attend such courses the game will develop like elsewhere in the country,” observes Gondwe.
Gondwe adds another stumbling block that is hindering the growth of women soccer in Malawi is the fact that there few local and national tournaments.
“Many young women and girls are extremely interested to take up the game of soccer but the challenge we have is that there are few tournaments both on local and national level.
We are mostly active when we have Presidential Cup tournaments where most teams are active,” says Gondwe.
She also adds there are only three female soccer clubs in her town because of scarcity of sponsorship as a result when there is a major national tournament the clubs compete with neighbouring towns for a provincial slot.
But Gondwe is of the view that women soccer will need more apart from provision of basic training technical courses, arguing that there is still a lingering mentality in the country that soccer is a game of men and boys.