With time for preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations’ (Afcon) qualifiers running out, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has appealed for patience on the move to hire the next Flames coach.
The Flames are set to kick-start their Group B campaign in June with a home tie against winners between Comoros and Mauritius on June 13, but with barely four months before the campaign rolls into life, FAM is yet to identify a coach.
Two of the Flames other group opponents—Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions and the Atlas Lions of Morocco—were as of yesterday still in contention for the 2017 Afcon finals in Gabon.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said while they realise that they face a race against time to start preparations, there are processes that need to be followed.
“Consultations have to be made. Currently discussions with government are at advanced stage as regards the prospects of engaging a foreign coach. I know there are some people who are running out of patience, but there is no need to panic at this stage.
“[And] even if the coach was appointed now, the league is still off season and he would need a bit of time to assess the players. So, we are looking at having a coach at least two months before the first match,” he said.
Apart from the issue of coach, FAM also faces funding challenges ahead of the 2019 Afcon and 2018 Championship of Africa Nations (Chan) qualifiers having exhausted their K32 million funding for the current financial year.
Nyamilandu said they were planning to ask for additional funding from government through the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS).
“Funding is indeed a challenge and we are lobbying government for additional funding,” he said.
Flames captain Limbikani ‘Pupa’ Mzava at the weekend appealed to FAM and government to speed up the process of identifying the next coach.
“June is just four months away and the fact that we have no coach in place does not sound good. Hopefully, the authorities will speed up the process because he [the coach] will require ample time to assess the players,” he said from Durban.
But Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa said when FAM and officials from his ministry finalise discussions on hiring an expatriate coach, he will submit a report to President Peter Mutharika for his perusal.
And commenting on FAM’s move to seek additional funding, Mussa said: he will support the move, describing it as justifiable.
“FAM has the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development as its parent and has every right to justify and ask for extra funding,” he said.
But Sports Council executive secretary George Jana recently said that would be dependent on the timing for submitting such request. n