In twists and turns of sheer comedy, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has reinstated and redeployed former Flames coach Meck Mwase as Under-23 national team coach, barely three days after dismissing him.
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. FAM said it would engage the Malawi Government on redeploying the coach for the rest of his two-year contract, which expires in April next year.
But yesterday, FAM head of technical sub-committee Tiya Somba Banda, who is also a FAM executive committee member, yesterday claimed the decision to redeploy Mwase as Under-23 national team coach was made during the same meeting.
On why they did not state the same in FAM’s statement, he said: “Maybe it was because of the way the statement was crafted. It indeed created the impression that we would seek government’s direction. Perhaps that is why there was that confucion.
“Otherwise, we decided to redeploy Mwase to the Under-23 national team after noting that the junior team has a number of competitions that clash with those of the senior national team.
“Between June and July this year, we have the Olympics qualifiers [for Under-23]. At the same time, there will be the Africa Cup of Nations [Afcon] and Championship for African Nations [Chan] qualifiers [for the senior team].”
However, in an interview with The Nation published yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu insisted Mwase was fired and that Malawi Government, as his employer, would have to redeploy him.
The development comes after Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda on Monday stated that FAM could not engage the government on Mwase’s redeployment because it was a technical matter that had to be tackled by the association itself.
Reacting to the development in an interview yesterday, Mwase hit out at FAM, accusing the association of subjecting him to “mental torture” by not officially communicating about his dismissal and possible redeployment.
“Auzeni kuti kumakhala bwino ndi anthu ndi bwino [Tell FAM to be good to others]. What they are doing is bad,” Mwase said yesterday.
“It is painful to always learn about these issues in the public domain when FAM is yet to officially communicate to me days after making their decisions.”
He said he would only effectively comment on his role as Under-23 national team coach once he is served with an official letter on the same.
In his reaction, football analyst Charles Nyirenda said it was “rude and unprofessional” for FAM to make such critical decisions before consulting key stakeholders, especially Mwase and the government.
“The Flames are a national asset. As such, proper consultations among key stakeholders are required before any important decisions such as firing and hiring are made,” he said.
Nyirenda added that the solution to the senior national team’s success is not changing coaches, but coming up with long-term plans such as talent development and professionalising the country’s football.
“If you have noted, we have changed several coaches within the last two decades, but we are still not yet there. What we should know is that we cannot manufacture success. We need long-term plans. Firing or hiring coaches for the Flames is just dealing with symptoms,” he said.
Meanwhile, government through the Malawi National Council of Sports has since called for a meeting with FAM within the week to demand an explanation on what led to the firing of the former Flames captain.