As the transfer window is in full swing, more players continue flocking to Mozambique for greener pastures, a situation that is negatively affecting the Super League and the national team.
In 2014 season, Silver Strikers lost three key players—Charles Swini, Chawanangwa Kawonga and Frank Banda—who clinched deals with Mozambique clubs.
They joined other players such as Chimango Kayira, Simplex Nthala, Moses Chavula, Zicco Mkanda and Jimmy Chikulekule who ply their trade in that country.
This year more players are also destined leave for Mozambique.
Ferroviario de Nampula has targeted strikers Green Harawa and midfielder Ndaziona Chatsalira from Silver Strikers while Be Forward Wanderers goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa has clinched a deal with CD Chingale.
Silver defender Lucky Malata and Wanderers duo of midfielder Mike Kaziputa and striker Victor Mpinganjira and Fisd Wiards’ Godfrey Masonda also sneaked out to Mozambique to try their luck.
Mozambique clubs are offering signing-on fees in the range of 350 000 meticais (about K5.5 million) and a monthly salary of 33 000 meticais per month (K350 000), while Super League clubs struggle to pay K100 000 up keep allowance and K1 million signing on fees.
However, the downside of the deals is the impact the Mocambola league has on the players’ career which in turn affects the national team, the Flames.
Kawonga, Banda, Swini and Nthala are not even half the players they used to be.
Kawonga and Banda lost their place in the Flames paving the way for local striker Schumacher Kuwali.
Goalkeeper Swiniand Nthala’s drop in form has left a goal-keeping crisis prompting Flames coaches to experiment between McDonald Harawa and Chipuwa.
It is also the same story at the Super League clubs that lost the players as they struggle to replace them.
Silver spokesperson Chimwemwe Nkhwimba said the Mozambique clubs threat was real.
“If we had all those players we lost to Mozambique clubs, we could still be Super League champions,” he said.
TNM Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets vice-general secretary Kelvin Moyo warns that though attractive the Mozambique league was destroying players’ careers.
Moyo said: “It’s difficult to stop players from trekking that side due to monetary aspect. Even their lower league teams pay well. But the danger is that the standards are very low. Look at Sankhani Nyirenda; he struggled last season. Frank Banda is no longer the player he was, Chawa Kawonga lost his pace. Simplex [Nthala] is not half the goalkeeper he was when he left.”
But Football Association of Malawi (FAM) player transfer matching system (TMS) manager Casper Jangale blamed the development on football administrators.
Jangale said: “Yes, it’s bad for our football, but it’s good for the players’ welfare. Remember, football is a short-term career and one has to make hay while the sun shines. Clubs must realize that Malawi has vast talent but many people shun football because there is no money in it.”
According to Jangale, Malawi has over 20 players plying their trade in Mozambique of which at least 10 are officially in Fifa’s transfer matching system (TMS).
Of these only Kayira and Nthala are regulars in Flames as coach Mtawali has also opted to rely on local players in his rebuilding exercise.
But while most of the players in Mozambique end up coming back home, there are exceptions like Joseph Kamwendo who went on to clinch a lucrative deal with DR Congo’s TP Mazembe while playing for Liga Mulcumana.
The former Flames skipper begs to differ from those that rate Mocambola lowly.
“Their league is much organized than that of Malawi in all aspects. Some of the things we are implementing now like the club licensing, they already did some years back when I was playing for Mulcumana,” Kamwendo said.
Latest Fifa ranking, rates Malawi (104), 28th in Africa and fifth in the Confederation of Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) region while Mozambique (102) is fourth best.