The answer is no!
Government through the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development has rejected Football Association of Malawi (FAM) proposal to hire an expatriate coach for the misfiring Flames.
Confirming the development in an interview yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “I was in touch with the Minister [of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development] Honourable Henry Mussa yesterday [Thursday] and he says the proposal has not been approved. But it is a major setback.”
The minister recently referred the issue to President Peter Mutharika, but Weekend Nation could not establish whether it is the President who has turned down the proposal.
In the wake of the development, Nyamilandu said FAM executive committee will meet today in Lilongwe to determine the way forward.
“We could pursue the second option of hiring an expatriate coach from within Africa.
“This could be relatively cheaper. Failing which [then] we will have to settle for a local coach because we do not have much time to start preparing for the forthcoming Chan [Championship of African Nations] preliminary qualifiers against Madagascar next month,” he said.
Mussa could not be drawn to comment on the reasons for rejecting the proposal even after FAM had submitted a cost-sharing proposal.
He, however, said officials from his ministry will engage FAM at today’s meeting.
According to Weekend Nation findings, FAM has indicated that the coach they were looking for would earn between $10 000 (about K7.3 million) and $15 0000(about K11 million).
Soccer commentator George Kaudza-Masina said considering the current economic climate, government’s decision was expected.
“Taking into account the current economic climate, it could have been a tall order to hire an expatriate. As for the first option to go for a foreigner from within the continent, it doesn’t make sense because all credible coaches from within the continent might as well be expensive.
“Let FAM swallow its pride and operate within its means. They should engage local coaches and give them the maximum support because that is one area that they [FAM] lack,” he said.
In justifying its reason to hire an expatriate coach, FAM listed 12 areas in which it cited local coaches’ shortfalls which included performance, tactical deficiencies, lack of managerial skills, visionary and analytical skills, ability to inspire, meeting deliverables and selecting players on merit.
FAM has for the past 12 years employed expatriates the late Burkhard Ziese and Stephen Constantine on a full-time basis.
Ziese left just a year into his two-year contract on disciplinary grounds whereas Constantine terminated his contract. However, FAM argued that the duo showed much promise and improvement compared to locals.
Ironically, on both occasions that the Flames qualified for Africa Cup of Nations, they were under the tutelage of locals the late Henry Moyo (1984) and Kinnah Phiri (2010).
It was also under Moyo that the Flames qualified for the All Africa Games in 1987, but it was late Reuben Malola who guided the team to a respectable third-place finish. Malola also guided the Flames to win the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup in 1988.
However, it was Briton late Ted Powell who twice led the Flames to win the tournament in 1978 and the following year.