Morocco coach Herve Renard has asked Malawi to maintain Belgian Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) as national team head coach despite his failure to steer the team to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nation (Afcon) finals.
He was speaking at a press conference after the Flames held Morocco to a goal-less draw in their final group B qualifying match at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Friday.
The Atlas Lions qualified for the finals having collected unassailable points while Malawi finished the campaign bottom of the group.
Renard, a double Afcon winner, said building a team requires time, hence, the need to be patient with RVG.
“The coach is doing a good job and I hope he will continue on the same way (coaching the team) because sometimes to build something takes one or more years,” he said.
The French tactician also pointed out that it would have been cruel to expect Malawi to qualify for the finals from a group that had strong teams— Morocco and Cameroon— the
reigning Afcon champions.
Renard won his first Afcon with Zambia where he admitted struggling for a long spell to get positive results.
“I was in Zambia and it was like this [what Malawi is going through]. Step by step, we built a strong team and I am sure you can do it as well,” he said.
As his two-year contract expires early next month, RVG has recorded two wins, 11 draws and eight losses, a record that has attracted calls for Football Association of Malawi (FAM) not to renew his contract.
But speaking after the Morocco encounter, RVG said he has done enough to expose a lot of young players.
“Except John Lanjesi and John Banda, we used very young players today. I beg everybody, regardless of who is going to be the head coach, to support these guys because they are very talented,” the Belgian tactician said.
RVG said, including those in the Under-23 setup, he has scouted 45 players who are capable of playing for the national team in the next 10 years.
Meanwhile, FAM committee responsible for technical and youth affairs has said it will carry out a thorough assessment of the coach’s performance after today’s Under-23 Afcon qualifier against Zambia.
“After that assessment, we will recommend whether to extend his contract or not,” said the committee’s chairperson James Mwenda who is also FAM vice-president.
South Africa-based professional Gabadinho Mhango has also thrown his weight behind the coach.
“The coach has done a good job as we have adopted a proper system—playing together as a team,” he told the media after the game.