Civo United coach Alex Masanjala says he is saddened by insults that were directed at him after his side lost 4-1 to Silver Strikers in the semi-finals of the Standard Bank Knockout Trophy.
Masanjala claims he has sacrificed and achieved a lot with the team since he took over; hence, does not deserve such humiliation for a single defeat.
On Sunday, Masanjala had police to thank for whisking him away in an armoured vehicle as some fans bayed for his blood outside the dressing room where they sang insulting songs, demanding his resignation.
â€œI felt so bad that Civo fans could stoop so low and insult me like that. The club has done well since I took over. Maybe people have forgotten. We lost to a good team on Sunday and that is football. When a team loses one has to look at the bigger picture on reasons contributing to the defeat.
â€œIt is unfair to point fingers at coaches or players before carefully analysing the situation,â€ he said.
But he vowed not to bow down to pressure from the supporters.
â€œI have a contract with Civo and will see it to the end. The executive is the one that employed me, so I will work hard to fulfil my duties. I am not going anywhere just because the supporters want me out,â€ said Masanjala.
He also spoke strongly against the tendency by Malawian teams to give coaches game targets, saying it gives teams unnecessary pressure. Masanjala is currently on a four-game target and already he has drawn one and lost one.
â€œWhen the team is not doing well, as coaches you are under pressure to find solutions. So, if management comes up with a target they add more pressure,â€ he said.
Civo supporters committee treasurer Charles Mwenda said the fans were only protesting the teamâ€™s poor form.
â€œThose who were insulting were not our supporters. They just joined us and we apologise for any inconvenience the insults may have caused. But we were just demonstrating peacefully because we are fed up with the teamâ€™s poor performance.
â€œWe recently presented our grievances to the executive on the poor performance of the team and on team selection, which is biased towards the coachesâ€™ favourites. But that did not change.
â€œThe demonstration was not all about the Silver game, but the overall performance in regard to previous games. We wanted him out and felt the four-game target was on the higher side, we wanted two gamesâ€”the Moyale and Silver games,â€ said Mwenda.
Civo officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, but their general secretary Rashid Mtelela told ZBS radio on Tuesday that Masanjalaâ€™s position will be reviewed after the next two games.
â€œBut we do not condone the supportersâ€™ behaviour on Sunday,â€ said Mtelela.
In the past four years, Masanjala has led Civo to three finals; two in the Standard Bank competitions, which they both lost and one in the Presidential Cup which they won in 2010 against Silver. It was the teamâ€™s first silverware in 24 years.
â€œTo me, he is one of the most successful coaches on the local scene considering the little resources he has at his disposal. Civo does not buy [players], they rely on his expertise to blend raw young talent and rejects from top teams into a formidable side. So this is unfair to Masanjala,â€ said local soccer analyst Kelvin Moyo.