Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday gave an insight into its technical panel’s chaotic set-up in which the head of technical panel, Rogers Yasin, was reduced to a figurehead while assistant coach Eliah Kananji, was calling the shots and making unilateral decisions on players’ selection.
Addressing the media during a press briefing in Blantyre, Bullets chief executive officer Fleetwood Haiya said the development contributed to the team’s poor performance that has seen the coaches missing their target of winning the TNM Super League and two cup competitions.
He said after warning the coaches three times, the board had no choice but to fire Yasin and Kananji and that strikers’ coach Heston Munthali, who holds a CAF C licence, would act as caretaker coach and will be assisted by team manager James Chilapondwa with some input from veteran players such as Fischer Kondowe.
Giving an insight into the clubs concerns on the team’s poor performance, Haiya, who was flanked by Chilapondwa, Kondowe and defender Sankhani Mkandawire, said they had on several occasions noted poor fielding of players.
“As a board we don’t interfere in players’ selection. But we noted a number of times some questionable featuring of players. When we tried to find out, we were told that only one person in the technical panel [Kananji] picked the first XI without consulting other members of the technical panel. When we asked the head coach [Yasin] why this was happening, his response was that he delegates yet he was supposed to be in charge of the team,” he said.
Haiya said after giving the coaches a chance to prove their worth, the board had decided to relieve them of their duties with immediate effect.
He said: “The coaches’ contracts were performance-based. They were given targets. The main ones were that in the TNM Super League first-round, they were supposed not not accumulate less than 36 points or to win not less than 12 games.
“They just missed this with a whisker because the team finished with 35 points. We gave them another chance because we considered that the variance of just one point wasn’t bad enough despite that this was below the target that we gave them.
“Another objective was to win at least two cups of which we all know that they have failed. We failed to win the Airtel Top 8 despite reaching the final and we have been knocked out of Carlsberg Cup recently, thereby missing the target because there is only the Fisd Challenge Cup remaining.”
Haiya said the club cannot wait for the same thing to happen in the league and Fisd Challenge Cup; hence, the decision to fire the coaches.
“If you can see how we lost the two cups it wasn’t easy, but it was promising. We were favourites to win the Airtel Top, 8 but we lost in the final. It was also promising that we would win the Carlsberg Cup. Remember the wide margin wins we were registering in Carlsberg Cup? We managed to score 14 goals in two games. Right now it is also promising that we can win the league, but we cannot wait until the same thing happens again and we miss the championship in a similar way,” he said.
Commenting on the coach’s poor fielding of players, Kondowe said the main problems was lack of hard working spirit among players who were being priority.
“A player should not be featured because he is young or old. Players must be fielded based on performance at training. Vuto ndi Bullets ndi loti muli ma passengers kwambiri. Timu ikulemedwa ndi ma players osalimbikira. Timu singawine choncho,” he said.
Meanwhile, Munthali has promised to turn around the team’s fortunes.
“I know it’s a tough job, but a man should be ready to take up challenges in life. My track record as a player and strikers’ trainer speaks volumes of my capability to change the club’s fortunes,” he said.
Bullets are expected to appoint a new coach within two weeks before they play their next Super League fixture.
However, former Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire said Kananji and Yasin were not the only ones to blame for the team’s poor performance.
“The problem with Super League clubs is that they tend to rush to blame coaches whenever the team is not doing well. Bullets’ problems are deep-rooted but unfortunately, it’s the coaches that take the blame,” he said.
Kananji also shared the same sentiments, saying the coaches are scapegoats.
“But I have accepted their decision. There is nothing I can do,” he said. n