Under-qualified football coaches will continue to play second-fiddle in the top-flight league for lacking the Confederation of African Football (CAF)-B licence, which is a minimum qualification to coach a TNM Super League club.
At least 70 CAF-C holders were two years ago declared ineligible to head technical panels of Super League outfits as part of club licensing requirements and were keeping their fingers crossed to enrol for the CAF-B licence course this month after an earlier postponement.
However, according to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) technical director John Kaputa, the course will be held later this year after the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia, as CAF is scheduled to come up with a new syllabus following the recent introduction of the elite pro-coaching licence.
The latest development further restricts some promising coaches, who have already waited for the course for over two years, from attaining the badge and the likes of Flames assistant coach Peter Mponda, Under-17 national team assistant coach Temwa Msuku, Under-20 national team and Silver Strikers’ assistant coach Lovemore Fazili and Nyasa Big Bullets assistant coach Elia Kananji are some of the victims.
The country has about 54 coaches with the required CAF-B or CAF-A licences but not more than 10 have the experience of coaching in the Super League, making it difficult for clubs or the national teams to do away with the experienced under-qualified mentors.
Recently, the Flames coach Ronny Van Geneugden (RVG) came under fire for deploying under-qualified coaches—Mponda, Msuku and Fazili—in the national team technical panels and his defence was that the three would attend the required CAF-B licence course soon.
Not long ago, these coaches were banking on their experience to ably lead their teams to success. But now, after being demoted because of lacking the minimum qualifications, credit go to individuals with the required papers.
“This is why it is painful to hear that the CAF-B course has been postponed after more than two years of waiting and enduring insults,” said Msuku, who is now Kamuzu Barracks assistant coach despite previously having led Mafco FC to earn Super League promotion in 2009 and reach the Presidential Cup final in 2011.
The same applies to Kananji, who despite guiding Bullets to Super League and Carlsberg Cup glory as head coach a few seasons ago, he was demoted due to lack of a CAF-B licence.
The coaches have since urged the local soccer fraternity to lay the blame for their failure to have the necessary qualifications on the local soccer governing body.
They also blamed authorities for introducing the coaching restrictions before providing the necessary arrangements for the coaches to upgrade.
“This delay is painful because people talk a lot, saying some of us do not have a necessary qualification, it is portrayed as if the problem is of our own making yet it is the soccer governing body that has not given us a platform to upgrade on time. We are not failures but it is our football system that creates that grim picture,” said Msuku.
Nevertheless, Kananji hopes the course will indeed be conducted this year.
But Kaputa has insisted that everything will be in place before the end of this year.
“The course will be held later this year as CAF wants to overhaul its manuals. The process will be preceded by a meeting for CAF technical sub-committee, the instructors’ workshop and an annual general meeting [AGM] comprising presidents and general secretaries for all member associations, which will approve the new course contents for CAF-C, CAF-B and CAF-A,” he said.
“It is only after that process that the courses will be rolled out and that will be this year. At present, the technical sub-committee meeting has already taken place but the other gatherings will be done after the imminent Fifa World Cup.”
Soccer analyst George Kaudza Masina said the idea of having a CAF B coaching licence as a minimum qualification for Super League coaches is a good one but what is unfortunate is that the transition has not been managed properly.
He, however, suggested that since the course will come after the World Cup in July, FAM and Super League of Malawi [Sulom] should waive the current coaching restrictions as they wait for the courses.
“The CAF-B coaching courses have not been forthcoming, thus disadvantaging a lot of promising coaches. Much as there are a lot of CAF-B coaches in Malawi, most of them do not have the practical experience and, as such, let us make do with the already tried coaches in the interim,” he said.