Is Flamesâ€™ coach Kinnah Phiri good, average or bad?
I have been confronted with this question with some expecting outright no or yes answers.
But football is never your every day multiple choice test. Football is never in black and white. Not to me.
Sadly, the debate on Kinnah sometimes degenerates into offensive and petty talk. An ugly game after all!
Kinnahâ€™s proponents point to his feat as the first ever coach to take Bakili Bullets to their finest hour; the 2004 CAF Champions League group stages after seeing off habitual campaigners SC Villa, Zanaco and Orlando Pirates.
Oh, what an afternoon studded with emotions when the late Dick Malidadi struck at the Kamuzu Stadium to eliminate Pirates!
The apologists add that Kinnah cannot suddenly become bad after guiding the Flames to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 1984.
They also cite Kinnahâ€™s second spell with South Africaâ€™s Free State Stars in 2008; taking them to a cup semifinal and fifth-place league finish.
Those against Kinnah argue that merely making the 2004 Champions League group stages and winning the Super League title with Bullets in 2005 is nothing for an expensively-assembled side that comprised Peter Mponda, Robert Ngâ€™ambi, Swadick Sanudi, Fischer Kondowe and Grant Lungu.
On his Flamesâ€™ tenure, the antagonists say Kinnahâ€™s away record of one win [1-0 in Djibouti] in 68 games is pathetic.
They say Kinnah has no silverware to show off; not even Cosafa or Cecafa Cup.
They also claim that luck [if it exists] was responsible for the Flamesâ€™s 2010 Nations Cup qualification as the third best loser with four points out of 18 points from six games. They condemn the â€˜uglyâ€™ football his team churns.
In football, everyone thinks they know.
But I will stick to what even the most ardent of supporters can never disputeâ€”statistics.
Kinnah had before facing Zanzibar at the 2012 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup â€˜playedâ€™ 68 games, won 22, lost 24 and drawn 22.
So what picture do Kinnahâ€™s results paint? CAF coachesâ€™ instructor Ben Koufie says: “A national team coach is responsible for how a team plays and not results but he is not judged by how a team plays but results.”
Otherwise in football, you are as good as your last result. When a coach delivers or flops record books never chronicle the resources involved and the good/harsh environment one works in.
The verdict is yours