FAM has said it is not amused by government’s decision to backtrack on the move to engage an expatriate coach because it was purely based on their [government] advice.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said this in the wake of Malawi’s Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chihana’s dramatic change of tune that government would only employ an expatriate coach once the country’s economy stabilises.
“It comes as a big surprise because we were guided by them. Whatever we said came from a meeting that we had with officials from government recently.
“It comes as a surprise because this was their advice to pursue the recruitment of an expatriate coach,” said Nyamilandu.
Asked whether he feels government’s move is justified, Nyamilandu said: “Well, it depends because, obviously, the question would be at what point did they realise that the country is struggling economically?
“We are all living in hard economic times and it’s no secret that we are facing tough times as a country, but it is this flip-flopping that is a cause for worry.”
He further said if the country were serious about the Flames scaling greater heights, then there is need to invest.
“If we want to realise our dreams of qualifying for the  World Cup and  Africa Cup of Nations, then we need to spend, but the harsh reality is that we don’t have the money,” he said.
Asked on the way forward, Nyamilandu who recently told The Nation that the country no longer has coaches who are capable of turning around the Flames fortunes, said: “We just have to trust the local coaches that we have appointed on caretaker basis [Eddington Ng’onamo, Ernest Mtawali and Patrick Mabedi].
“And we hope they can rise to the challenge and deliver. Whatever the case, in the long run, these coaches will have to be paid.”
However, renowned football commentators Yasin Osman and Charles Nyirenda partly supported government’s move, but were quick to point out that the continued changes over the coaching panel’s future is not a healthy situation.
Osman argued that apart from the economic problems that the country is facing, FAM has not tried all coaches in the country.
“Government could be right because considering the economic problems that we are facing, can we really afford an expatriate?
“The other thing that some of the local coaches that took charge of the Flames were there on carataker basis and did not get the same level of support that was given to either expatriates or locals that were offered contracts.
“So, I wouldn’t agree with the inclination that all the local coaches have been tried and tested. Those that were engaged on part-time need to be given the benefit of the doubt,” said Osman.
On his part, Nyirenda said: “The flip-flopping is very unfortunate because it has the potential to affect planning. How do people view this?”
However, Nyirenda was also of the view that there are some local coaches who can ably take charge of the Flames.
“The critical question is that is it really correct to suggest that Malawi does not have capable coaches? Because we got independence in 1964 and almost 50 years down the line, surely we should have trust in our own people.
“It’s time we started relying on our own people and the people that have been put forward can deliver given the support. We just need to train them further,” said Nyirenda who also served as FAM chief executive officer.
Chihana on Wednesday said funds permitting, government is committed towards supporting local coaches programmes.