TNM Super League giants Blue Eagles have sent their head coach Gerald Phiri on forced leave over the team’s poor performance.
The club’s chairperson Alexander Ngwala confirmed the development yesterday, saying they decided to send Phiri on an indefinite holiday as the Eagles executive committee scrutinises his overall performance.
The development comes after Eagles lost 1-0 to Chitipa United and settled for a goalless draw against Karonga United away at the weekend.
“If you look at our overall performance, you will note that we have been static on position 12 for too long,” Ngwala said.
“Therefore, we have sent the coach on an indefinite holiday so we can thoroughly analyse his overall performance to see if it meets his contractual obligations. Once we find that he is not at fault, we will call him back to resume work.”
He said Phiri’s assistant Wilson Chidati will take over as caretaker coach.
Under Phiri’s guidance, Eagles have registered five wins, seven draws and six losses. This means he has accumulated a total of 22 points from 18 games.
The Malawi Police Service outfit gave the coach a performance-based contract six months ago when he replaced De Klerk Msakakuona, who is now Malawi Under-17 football team coach and they challenged him to win the league title this season.
At the time of his appointment, the club had played five league games and was on position 11 with five points.
At present, they are on position 12 with 27 points, having played 23 games. This means they have 48 as their maximum tally if they win all their seven remaining games.
Ngwala said with their current standing, it will be a tall order to win the league as leaders Silver Strikers, who have eight games to play, are just two points shy of their maximum points. Defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets are second on 45 points with nine games to go.
On his part, Phiri yesterday said he could not comment on the matter.
“There is nothing I can say my brother. I have decided not to comment on this issue. I hope you will understand me. Have a blessed day,” he said.
But football analyst Charles Nyirenda yesterday said sending the coach on forced leave was not the best solution for the Eagles to improve their form.
“This proves that Eagles management and technical staff do not work together to help the team. They need a good system of appraising the performance of their team game by game. By the way, the management is not supposed to review the coach’s performance because they are part of the problem themselves,” he said.
“From my observation, Eagles poor form is not as a result of the coach’s failure to guide the team but lack of personnel; they create many scoring chances, but they do not have a reliable out-and-out striker to finish the job.”