Some soccer pundits have cautioned Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to look beyond coaches when its technical subcommittee meets this weekend to assess the Flames’ poor performance in both the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the Cosafa Castle Cup.
Seasoned tactician Yasin Osman and analysts Charles Nyirenda and Pilirani Kachinziri have said going by past trend, the buck at FAM stops at firing coaches.
Said Osman: “While it is expected for the [FAM] technical subcommittee to review the performance of the Flames, but it has now become a trend that the only thing that comes out of such meetings, is to fire coaches.
“I, personally would advise FAM to look at the situation soberly and seek views from relevant stakeholders. They should look beyond coaches because the problems are cross cutting.
“I am not saying the coaches’ performance should not be reviewed, but it is time FAM took a holistic approach because there are several issues that need to be looked into. How many coaches are we going to hire and fire?”
On his part, Nyirenda said: “In fact, FAM technical subcommittee is fully responsible for the steady decline [of the national team] stretching back to 2011.
“Now, it shouldn’t be the coach alone becoming the scapegoat; the whole lot must collectively take responsibility. If you look at the standards in the Super League, the level of support that the national team gets and, crucially, development programmes, then you realise that the problems are crosscutting.”
Kachinziri said time has come for FAM to conduct some soul-searching rather than just pointing fingers at the coaches.
“If that is the case then they too [FAM] have failed because they are part of the problem. In the recent past, they have fired quite a number of coaches including Kinnah Phiri, Young [Chimodzi] and [Eddingtone] Ng’onamo. Now how many more coaches are going to be hired and fired?
“It is because we are just scratching the surface when the problems are deep-rooted. For now, we need to lay the foundations and come up with the Under-17 and Under-20 national teams. The Under-20 team which [the current coach] Ernest Mtawali built two years ago, should be drilled to become the senior team under his tutelage.
“We cannot be expecting results when we have not invested. A good number of players that formed the team that qualified for 2010 Africa Cup of Nations such as Peter Mponda, Esau Kanyenda, Peter Mgangira and Hellings Mwakasungura were products of a system put in place by Manfred Hoener and that is what is needed now,” he said.
Players’ scout Ben Chiwaya said he would be against the idea to fire the coaches.
“The problem cannot be the coaches alone. FAM needs to give the coaches the benefit of the doubt by giving them the freedom to build a team of their choice. They should give them enough time so that they should not work under pressure,” he said.
FAM technical subcommittee chairperson James Mwenda, who is also the association’s vice-president, said Saturday’s meeting is just aimed at reviewing the current situation and thereafter a report will be submitted to the FAM executive committee.