All things being equal, FAM should aim to learn from top established national football associations such as those of Nigeria, Zambia and Egypt on the true meaning of national team rebuilding.
But sometimes, you can learn from little negligible places. Botswana Football Association (BFA) has just done what FAM may wish to learn from on striking a balance between team rebuilding—when you operate on shoe-string budget—and setting targets for newly-hired national team coaches such as Young Chimodzi.
Since firing Stanley Tshosane last year, BFA took their time, did their home-work on the coach they wanted and hired little-known English journeyman Peter Butler, 47, last Wednesday.
While FAM president Walter Nyamilandu set qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Morocco as Chimodzi’s targets, which clearly are unrealistic and an added insult to the man they fired alongside Kinnah Phiri, BFA president Tebogo Sebego opted to sober up on his expectations.
“Butler has the Uefa Pro Licence and has also been involved in coaching at developmental level and that is what we were looking for,” Sebego told bbc.co.uk, clearly demonstrating an understanding between development and results.
“He is as hungry for success as we are. He wants a challenge and his presentations have shown that he has a fire burning in him. In terms of targets, we want him to deliver a team that will get us beyond the preliminary stages of Cosafa.
“And for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, we are looking for him to deliver a positive display. Because of the short amount of time to prepare we do not necessarily expect to qualify for that tournament. But we want a positive impact in terms of attaining points and getting a respectable position in the group at the very least.”
BFA fired Tshosane, the trail-blazing local coach who for the first time in Botswana history qualified the Zebras for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, months after FAM kicked out Kinnah who took the Flames to the 2010 Nations Cup.
The only difference is that FAM has within nine months of sacking Kinnah, tried Eddingtone Ng’onamo, demoted him to work under Belgian Tom Saintfiet before settling for Chimodzi.
When you consider that Botswana domestic league standards are not good, but are good enough to attract desperate Malawian players such as Lawrence Majawa (Township Rollers) and Alfred Manyozo Junior (UF Santos), then you would think FAM ought to learn from them..
Yet when unveiling Chimodzi and his deputy Jack Chamangwana, Nyamilandu demanded from Chimodzi qualification to the 2015 Nations Cup. He did this while in the same breath, failing to guarantee resources for adequate preparations.
“I do not want to lie that they are coming on a bed of roses. We have to make do with meagre resources. At the moment, it looks bleak as funding was exhausted,” Nyamilandu told the press on January 31 2014.
“Our vision is to qualify; we will call for right resources. We feel we have the right team now. We are poor, but we have skilful players. We will have to rely on our resources. What gives us the confidence is that there is government assurance that there will be money for the qualifiers.”
Chimodzi, diplomatic as always, chipped in out of political correctness to suggest “even at home when you are poor, it does not mean you should not aspire for good things.”
For a man who admitted thinking twice before accepting the offer, one can only feel for Chimodzi who will once again be judged by results even when resources are not readily available to bring the results.
Malawi cannot even send a team to Cosafa Under-20 tournament, register for Chan, let alone, honour an invitation to a near-fully funded Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup. It is all due to FAM being broke.
The Flames last played a competitive game last September.
Under current conditions, FAM should have aimed at the 2014 Cosafa Cup, which the Flames have never won. The work has been cut out for the legendary Chimodzi and Chamangwana.
For BFA, hiring an expatriate coach coming to work in Africa for the first time is a gamble. Expect Butler, who coached in Asia and Australia, to grumble about new cultural shocks, administrative and playing standards. All foreign coaches do so, especially when results do not go their way.
While Botswana are Africa football also-rans not, in terms of living within their means, setting realistic goals and easing pressure on new coaches for them to build a team, FAM has just made BFA seem a model of football organisation.