TNM Super League side Blue Eagles have settled for former Flames coach Gerald Phiri as head coach ahead of six foreign coaches from Zimbabwe and Zambia who applied for the job.
The Lilongwe-based club’s chairperson Alexander Ngwala yesterday said the foreigners were among 12 applicants for the post, but none made it on the final list of four candidates.
He said the other three candidates who were short-listed were Millias Jegwe-Pofera, Abbas Makawa and Bravo Chipelesa.
“Most of the foreign coaches were more qualified and experienced than some of the local applicants, but they could not be considered because it would have taken long to process logistics,” he said.
The Eagles’ chairperson said they have settled for Phiri, who holds Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) A coaching licence, due to his vast experience and good track record as compared to the other applicants.
Eagles have since given Phiri, who will be assisted by Christopher Sibale and Wilson Chidati, a target to win the Super League title for the first time and qualify for CAF Champions League as demanded by Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General George Kainja, who is the club’s patron.
Eagles have not won the league title since its establishment in 1986, but have been winning silverware almost every season in recent years.
They finished third in the league last season and they won the Fisd Challenge Cup. Currently, they are 10th on the 16-team Super League log-table with five points, having won a single game, drawn two and lost one.
“We have been winning cup competitions at least every season, but it is our desire to win the league this season. Therefore, we have given Phiri a performance-based contract. It will only be renewed at the end of the season if our dream becomes a reality,” he said.
Phiri was not available for comment yesterday.
His track record includes coaching Tigers until earlier this year when he quit, citing players’ welfare as the reason. He also had stints with other big clubs such as Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.
Phiri was given a year-long contract as Flames’ interim coach in 2017, but Football Association of Malawi (FAM) gave him an assistant coach role after hiring expatiate coach Ronny van Geneugden.
The Eagles’ head coach post fell vacant after former mentor Deklerk Msakakuona was appointed as Under-17 national football team coach on permanent basis early this year.
Meanwhile, Ntopwa FC is now the only team in the league without a coach with a minimum qualification for coaching a Super League club. CAF B licence is the minimum requirement.
Ntopwa FC owner and technical director Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman yesterday said the club will soon hire a head coach.
The self-sponsored club employed CAF B coaching licence holder Trevor Kajawa as head coach, but he has not been on the touchline since the Super League kicked off last month. This prompted Osman to take up the role, a development that has displeased FAM.
Kajawa yesterday said he is just waiting for official communication from the club to restart his work, which was temporarily put on hold following the recent ban on sporting activities due to Covid-19.