Flames coach Ernest Mtawali has backed his decision to replace Philip Nyasulu with Swadiki Sanudi as goalkeepers’ trainer, saying the teams’ two-all draw against Swaziland in the 2017 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier was due to goalkeeping flaws.
This comes few days after Mtawali sacked Nyasulu and replaced him with Sanudi. Nyasulu could not be reached for comment as we went to press.
Mtawali made the statement on Thursday during a press briefing at Chiwembe Technical Centre in Blantyre.
“In Swaziland, we controlled the game in terms of ball possession and attacking, but the goalkeeping part let us down. We conceded two goals that could have been avoided,” Mtawali said.
“I, therefore, recommended the hiring of Sanudi, who I observed during our Independence Day Celebration match against Uganda [which ended 1-1] to be much better in terms of demonstrating skills to the goalkeepers. I do not have any personal grudge against Nyasulu, but I thought this change would help our team.”
Mtawali added that in his report for the Swaziland game to Football Association of Malawi (FAM), he also recommended that both Nyasulu and Sanudi should be considered for goalkeepers’ trainers’ refresher course.
Nyasulu had been working as Flames’ goalkeepers’ trainer since the reign of former coach Young Chimodzi.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda, whose body let Nyasulu continue his job under Mtawali, said yesterday that they respect the new coach’s decision as long as it is for the benefit of the team.
“Of course, it was FAM which roped Nyasulu, but we cannot stand in the coach’s way on technical changes. After all, Mtawali has powers to fire and hire anyone he feels to be comfortable with because it is only him and his deputy, who are on contracts,” Nyirenda said.
While saying that Nyasulu and Sanudi will be among individuals to attend Fifa goalkeepers’ trainers’ course next year, Nyirenda disclosed that the Flames’ October 4 friendly against Uganda has been cancelled because many professionals will be on duty for their clubs in South Africa’s Telekom Knockout Cup.
“It will be of no use for us to play the international friendly in the absence of most of our professionals in South Africa ahead of the Tanzania encounter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the camping 25 local players have been released for their clubs’ engagements in this weekend’s Standard Bank Knockout Cup quarter-finals and will return to camp on Sunday.
The final 20-player Flames squad, including the professionals, will be announced on October 1. The squad has received K21 million funding from government.