Fooball Association of Malawi (FAM) and seasoned coach Yasin ‘Titch’ Osman have said it would be unfair to start blaming Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden for the Flames loss to the Barea of Madagascar.
The Flames lost 1-0 in the first leg of the 2018 Championship of African Nations (Chan) first leg preliminary qualifier away in Antananarivo on Saturday.
In the past, Flames coaches have been underfire from the onset of their job.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said: “Following the loss, obviously some people will come out with their guns blazing criticising the coach which I think would be unfair.
“It’s still early days and the man hasn’t settled down yet. He needs time to know the players and to get his style of play entrenched.”
The FAM boss also said the battle is not over yet for the Flames as there is a second leg coming up this Saturday.
On his part, Osman said: “These are very early days. Ronny has only been in charge for weeks and at the time he came, the game against Madagascar was around the corner.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we should be realistic in our criticism and I heard some people on one of the radio stations attacking the coach which I felt was a bit harsh on the coach.
“It is absolute rubbish.”
Flames captain Dave Banda said they take the blame for the loss in Madagascar.
“We take responsibility for the loss because I think we could have done better, but having said that, we still have a chance to turn it around in the reverse fixture on Saturday.
“We are just a goal down and if we can polish up on our weak areas, we can win the return leg,” he said.
On hispart, Van Geneugden said it is also important to look at the performance of the team other than the result alone.
“Yes, the loss was a disappointment but I think we can draw some positives from the match. There were some good and bad moments.
“It’s not just about someone scoring from 30 metres and then you think that you have played a bad game, that not true so you have to stay focussed and say the game is over..
“When you play at home you have some 10 and 15 percent extra. So, I am sure that if we can have a full stadium in the return leg, mabe we cave 12th man to buoy us“The game is not over yet, so we will see after the [return] game in Lilogwe after 90 or 120 minutes what will be rhe result,” he said.
Ardino Raveloarisona scored the lone goal in the 88th minute to give the hosts an advantage going into the second leg.
It was a first competitive game in charge for van Geneugden.
Also in the Southern Zone, Mauritius beat Seychelles 2-1 at the Anjalay Stadium in Belle Vue.
In the Central Eastern Zone, South Sudan were 2-1 winners over Somalia in a match played in Djibouti as Somalia cannot host matches due to security fears.