Malawi government has appealed to the public to support Flames coach Kinnah Phiri and desist from criticising him and demanding his head, saying this could affect the teamâ€™s preparations for Saturdayâ€™s crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad.
Malawiâ€™s Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chakufwa Chihana said this Tuesday in the wake of the torrid time Kinnah was subjected to by a section of fans who turned on him after last Saturdayâ€™s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria, which ended 1-1.
Chihana also expressed government backing on both the coach and the team, saying they have done well despite meagre resources.
“The nation needs to support the coach and the players in the quest to beat Chad this Saturday and progress to the next round.
“Of course, we are aware that people want the team to start winning, but they need to be patient because the coach is building a new team. Results will start coming,” said Chihana.
He also said it is commendable that the coach never came up with conditions for the team to do well.
“Unlike expatriate coaches who came up with conditions, Kinnah has never given us conditions. So, why should we give him conditions?” wondered the minister.
He also said his ministry is aware that the Flames do not get what they deserve in terms of allowances and game bonuses.
Former Flames midfield star Ernest â€˜Wireâ€™ Mtawali also said it is important that the nation should rally behind the coach and the team as they prepare for the crucial match on Saturday.
“Let the coach and the players feel that they have the support of their nation,” said Mtawali, who is in the country on a scouting mission for his South African club Mamelodi Sundowns.
Mtawali also said he feels the coach has done a good job so far.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu described the criticism on Kinnah as unfortunate.
“Those were unfortunate comments. You can see that Kinnah has built a good team and I do not think he [Kinnah] deserved what other quarters were saying. What people are forgetting is that we are building a team,” said Nyamilandu.
A local commentator, Matthews Mtumbuka, said: “The Flames may not be performing like Ivory Coast or Zambia, but certainly we are on the right path and in the right direction.
“Drawing against Nigeria is not small by any measure. The team and coaching panel need our encouragement to build on that performance to do even better and you have done well in this case.â€™