Under pressure Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday changed tune on the firing of Flames coach Meck Mwase and accused the media of sensationalism.
In an interview last evening after meeting Malawi National Council of Sports on the unceremonious firing of Mwase, the FAM president said the resolutions of the association’s quarterly executive committee meeting were overtaken by the alleged sensationalism.
Nyamilandu said: “We were overtaken by media sensationalising the issue. Otherwise, we had planned to meet Meck and inform him about the changes.
“[But] on Monday, we had headlines in the dailies portraying that we had fired him. The headlines were sensational.”
However, Nyamilandu himself insisted in an interview with The Nation edition of Tuesday that Mwase’s fate lied with the Ministry of Youth and Sports as his employers.
During its quarterly meeting held in Mangochi on Saturday, the local football governing body’s executive committee relieved Mwase of his duties and replaced him with former technical director Mario Marinica, according to a statement from its communications team.
FAM also announced that they would engage the Malawi Government on redeploying Mwase for the rest of his two-year contract, which expires in April next year.
On why FAM has gone ahead to redeploy Mwase as Under-23 national team coach when they had earlier announced that it would be up to the government as the employer to determine how best to handle the his contract, Nyamilandu said: “We did not want to come out clearly because we wanted to inform government first.
“When we said government would redeploy him, we meant within our system and not necessarily redeploying him to work in the field elsewhere.”
The FAM president also stressed that they do not regret their decision.
He said: “Nothing will change, except clarifying that Meck Mwase has not been dismissed, but will take charge of the Under-23 national team.”
On whether this will not be in breach of contract considering that Mwase was hired as senior national team coach, Nyamilandu said: “Well, it depends on how he looks at it, but it is the same salary, same conditions. He does not lose out in terms of perks and renumeration.
“In my view, it is a challenging task to guide Malawi to Olympics finals, it is also an opportunity for him to advance his career because he will be mentored by Mario.”
Mwase, who has taken legal action against the association and is claiming K500 million in damages, yesterday said he would comment upon getting official communication from FAM.
Meanwhile, a FAM delegation led by Nyamilandu yesterday appeared before the Malawi National Council of Sports to explain the Flames’technical panel changes.
Sports Council spokesperson Edgar Ntulumbwa said in an interview they wanted to appreciate FAM’s decision.
“So, they have explained to us and the next stage will be to brief the board.
“On the way forward, we have also advised them to discuss the issue with government.”
Nyamilandu described the meeting as fruitful, saying: “We explained the rationale to the changes of the national team technical panel and the next stage will be to engage the Ministry of Youth and Sports on the same.”
Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda on Tuesday said government was awaiting communication from FAM on the developments.