Candidates for the Flames job say they have what it takes to transform the national football team into an indomitable side on the continent.
Immediate past Flames caretaker coach Ernest Mtawali, Be Forward Wanderers development and training manager Eddingtone Ng’onamo, Big Bullets mentor Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan and former Big Bullets coach Gilbert Chirwa are set to undergo interviews for the hot seat today in Blantyre.
Mtawali set the ball rolling with a promise to guide the Flames to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon.
“But then I am not just looking at qualification because that has been achieved twice before. I want the Flames to be the surprise team by reaching the quarter-finals and even beyond. It is not something unattainable, we have quality players but it’s about proper planning which includes selecting and featuring the right players.
“It also has to do with proper formations and approach because football is now a systematic and methodical game. Working on the psychological aspect of the players will also be crucial on my plans,” said the former Flames midfield kingpin.
He added that should he get the nod for the job he will spearhead the crusade of coming up with Flames own style of play, cast the net wider in player identification and selection with the help of the technical director [TD] and gradually build the next generation of the Flames from the Under-20 team.
Mtawali further said winning both games when he was in charge of the Flames—against Namibia (1-0) away in a 2014 World Cup qualifier (alongside Patrick Mabedi) and more recently against Uganda (1-0) in a friendly match, is testimony of his capabilities.
Ng’onamo said he deserves the job more than the others because of his vast experience and high qualifications.
“Over the years I have worked as an assistant to six expatriate coaches—Manfred Hoener, Kim Splidsboel, Allan Gilett, the late Bukhard Ziese, Stephen Constantine and Tom Saintfiet and I learnt a lot from them. I also have Uefa B licence and Professional Coaching A Licence.
“My plans are to motivate the players so that they give out their best and also instil discipline. With the help of the TD, I also want to set-up proper development stages,” he said.
Ng’onamo also said during his stint as caretaker Flames coach between 2003 and 2013, he never lost a competitive game match. However, the matches ended in draws: Ethiopia (0-0) in 2003 Namibia (0-0) and Kenya (2-2) both in 2013.
Ramadhan also promised to guide the Flames to qualify for 2017 Afcon.
“I am not a loser and I hate losing. I believe I have an edge on this aspect because I know African football better having coached in seven countries, namely South Africa, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Botswana, Mauritius and Malawi,” he said.
“Moreover, I know the strengths and weaknesses of the Flames and I know how to get the best out of it. We have quality players in Malawi, but the problem is how to blend their talents. If the Flames managed to win Plate trophy at the recent Cosafa Championships, it shows there is a potential. I am more than ready to take the job,” said Ramadhan.
On his part, Chirwa said he has vast experience having been attached to the Flames for a long time.
“I won several silverware, including winning the league title twice as head coach for Bullets and I was also the assistant coach to Kinnah [Phiri] when the club reached the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League, I was part of the technical panel when the Flames qualified for the finals of the Cosafa Cup in 2002,” said Chirwa.
He also brushed off suggestions that his inactivity for the past three years could be a disadvantage saying, “even when I was unattached I still followed the game and watched most of the national team home games, so I am not out of touch.”