Flames coach Ernest Mtawali has defended his decision to remain behind in South Africa after the Flames elimination from the Cosafa Castle Cup in Namibia, saying he had to see his family.
The team flew back home on Friday via Johannesburg without the coach and leader of delegation Alfred Gunda yesterday said Mtawali did not take leave of him.
“The coach did not inform me as HoD [head of delegation] that he would stay behind in South Africa.
“I only realised about his absence when we were processing the connecting flight to Blantyre. The team manager [Clement Kafwafwa] said the coach had mentioned he would remain behind in Johannesburg,” said Gunda who is also FAM executive committee member.
But Mtawali played down the issue in an interview from Johannesburg, saying he had asked the team manager to convey the message to the team leader.
“My family lives here in Johannesburg and I saw it as an opportunity to remain behind to see them.
“In fact, initially I had planned to connect the following day [Saturday], but I was put on stand-by and unfortunately there was no space available in Saturday’s flight and I have been booked for Tuesday [tomorrow].
“I think it was just a communication lapse, otherwise it wasn’t meant to look down upon the HOD,” explained Mtawali.
The coach, whose contract expires end July 2016, has been the subject of debate following the team’s exit from the regional showpiece last Thursday.