- Category: Sports Extra
- Written by Singayazi Kaminjolo
Malawi Coaches Association (MCA) chairperson John Kaputa has blamed coachesâ€™ job insecurity in Malawi largely on interference from fans.
In a recent interview, Kaputa said clubs that fire coaches because of pressure from supporters will always be dogged by chaos and inconsistencies on the pitch and infighting within their executive committees.
In recent past, Malawi has witnessed the firing of coaches Alex Masanjala and Thom Mkorongo at Civo United and Silver Strikers, respectively. Currently, jobs of Franco Ndawa at Silver and Eddington Ngâ€™onamo at Big Bullets are on the line, all because of undue pressure from supporters.
Things might work out well for Ndawa as he seems to have the backing of the executive committee, but even then, one can only count on fans not pushing their agenda against the executive; otherwise, it might not be long before cracks emerge in the executive itself over the same matter.
But supporters succeeded in having Masanjala and Mkorongo fired. The fans had the endorsement of the respective executive committees.
Ndawa was fired at Wanderers in the first round of the current season, also because of supportersâ€™ discontent, and he would have suffered the same fate had Silver executive not managed to douse the fire ignited by a section of the clubâ€™s fans who threatened to deal with him if he remained at Silver.
Flames coach Kinnah Phiri has also not been spared the wrath of fans after Malawiâ€™s poor showing in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that culminated in their being ousted from the tournament by Ghanaâ€™s Black Stars. If it were not for the insistence of government and the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Kinnahâ€™s contract would not have been renewed.
â€˜Fans have no mandate to hire and fireâ€™
Kaputa, however, said supporters have no mandate to hire, let alone, fire a coach, but to cheer and support the team.
â€œI will give an example of Bullets supporters. They have played an important role in sustaining the team in difficult financial times. They could organise a donation box during matches to raise something for the players. That is one of the roles supporters are supposed to play,â€ said Kaputa.
He said there are many factors, such as quality of players, playersâ€™ welfare, motivation, equipment and training time, that lead a team to win a match.
He said a coach will succeed or fail depending on these factors.
â€œAll these factors will contribute to the success of the coach. We have no bad or good coaches, rather we have successful and unsuccessful coaches. Some supporters deliberately choose to ignore these factors and that is why they are not the best people to fire coaches,â€ said Kaputa.
Masanjala said Civo had lots of problems in terms of motivating players.
â€œMy players were owed money for some time. The issue was only settled recently. We also had problems with strikers. After Dickson Mbetewa Jnr left, I told the executive that we needed to buy and we bought Dan Katunga from Red Lions. He has been scoring goals in every game, but I was surprised when I was fired, because I thought we were going in the right direction,â€ said Masanjala.
At Silver, Mkorongo was fired when the team was doing well, but supporters warned against fancy play at the expense of results. The executive then employed Ndawa, who had just been fired at Wanderers.
â€œIt is true a club cannot operate without supporters, but the role of fans is not to hire or fire coaches, but to cheer the team and buy the teamâ€™s brands to make it financially viable. There was a time Blue Eagles were losing games needlessly, but management never fired the coach,â€ said Gideon Banda, a soccer fan from Malawiâ€™s capital, Lilongwe.
â€œBut Eagles are now registering a lot of progress. As supporters, we need not interfere with the coachâ€™s job,â€ he said.
â€˜Coaches must account for performanceâ€™
However, Civo general secretary Rashid Ntelera said much as he condemns interference from fans, coaches must account for poor performance of the team.
â€œFootball is result-oriented. If the team is not winning, it means the coach is ineffective. The coach is supposed to know how to motivate players and bring the best out of them even when resources are meagre,â€ said Ntelera.
But a Wanderers fan, who opted not to be named, said everywhere in the world non-performing coaches do not survive, even if fans do not interfere.
Meanwhile, Kaputa has said MCA will hold an executive meeting on November 24 to agree on how best they can protect themselves against skimming supporters.