Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and national team fitness trainer Bob Mpinganjira have differed on the status of Mpinganjira’s contract seven months down the road.
While Mpinganjira claims that FAM promised to turn his role into a permanent deal, FAM says it was Mpinganjira who requested to be offered a full-time contract, but he was turned down.
In an interview, Mpinganjira said soon after Flames victory over South Sudan in a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier last year, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu told him that he will be offered a permanent contract.
“When we were celebrating that win, he joined the team and said that I should be offered a contract to be a permanent member of the technical panel. In fact, he said it in front of almost all the team members,” he said.
Mpinganjira, who has been part of head coach Meke Mwase’s backroom staff since 2019, said he has been following up on the issue, but has not received any response.
“Mostly, I have been asking [Alfred] Gunda [FAM general secretary]. And the response has been that they are looking into my issue and that a decision will be made by the executive committee. So, I am just waiting,” he said.
Mpinganjira, currently Be Forward Wanderers coach, said he is not bitter and will continue offering his services on temporary basis.
Reacting to the issue, Nyamilandu claimed that it was Mpinganjira who asked to be offered a permanent deal and was turned down on economic grounds.
He said: “Bob made a request to me, but the executive thought that we will be stretching ourselves too much financially and felt we would be comfortable having two permanent coaches on full time basis other than three.”
Flames have Mwase as head coach, who is paid by government and assistant coach Lovemore Fazili on FAM payroll.
But Nyamilandu has promised to continue hiring Mpinganjira on temporary basis.
“We will still maintain the trio because they have established a good working relationship. In addition to that, they are also getting good results,” said the FAM president.
Both Mwase and Fazili have contracts that will run until next year. FAM has unveiled plans to extend the deals once they expire.
The two were given a target to qualify for Afcon whose finals have been shifted to 2022 from 2021. The qualifiers have also been shifted to next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.