Malawi national football team coach Meck Mwase has edged some of his predecessors such as the legendary Young Chimodzi and Ernest Mtawali having recorded slightly higher win percentage and fewer losses in his one-year spell.
However, despite statistics backing him, there are doubters of his abilities who argue that he has not faced tough opposition, suggesting that he could falter along the way.
Mwase has admirers too who believe he has what it takes get the best out of the players.
The Flames gaffer has clocked a year and four months in charge. During this period, he has managed 15 games, notching five wins, representing 33 percent, three losses (20 percent) and drawing seven.
His immediate predecessor, Belgian Ronny van Geneugden (RVG), who took charge of 21 matches, won nine percent (two matches) and lost eight (38 percent).
Former Flames playmaker Mtawali, who reigned between 2015 and 2016, had a win percentage of 31 (five wins), drew 4 and lost six (40 percent) in 15 matches.
Chimodzi, with about 22 matches, registered a 25 percent win rate and lost 37.5 percent during his tenure from 2014 to 2016.
Football analyst Dyson Musa argued that Mwase is not a class apart from the other coaches, as he has not faced stern opposition.
“Meck is not different from the others. It is just that fixtures favour him. Actually, his team is not strong enough to challenge Southern African top sides.
“Look at how we were exposed against Uganda. I will rate him highly once we get good results against Burkina Faso,” he said.
Musa also said Mwase has an advantage because he inherited a team that had already been built by RVG.
“Mtawali was building his own team so was RVG. Mwase inherited a team that had already been set. That said, he has his own strengths. He enjoys good relationship with the players, but I think tactically he is not up there. His team selection does not impress me,” he said.
But former Flames striker Esau Kanyenda believes that although Mwase has managed lesser games, the statistics show he can get better with time.
“The games he has are a bit less as compared to RVG and Chimodzi. So, I think that Meck can still do better than the rest,” he said.
In his self-assessment,, Mwase said he is impressed with his work, especially having qualified for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations and 2022 World Cup group stages.
“Going into group stages of Afcon and World Cup are the successes I can point out now. I will be very happy if we can go to the finals of these competitions,” he said.
FAM technical committee chairperson Tiya Somba-Banda has since described Mwase’s statistics as fair.
“It’s quite a fair performance so far. However, our ultimate aim is to qualify for Afcon at the moment.
“We do continued assessments—game by game—so that come end of contract, we shouldn’t be gulping for statistics and all that,” he said.
In Afcon, the Flames are paired with Uganda, Burkina Faso and South Sudan in Group B. They are third with three points having won once and lost once as well against South Sudan and group leaders Uganda, respectively.
Malawi face Burkina Faso in double header qualifier next month in encounters that will likely have a significant bearing on their qualification chances for the Cameroon finals. Two teams are expected to qualify from the group.
In the World Cup, Malawi are in group D alongside continental superpowers Ivory Coast, Cameroon and neighbours Mozambique.
Mwase’s contract expires in February next year. Alongside his assistant Lovemore Fazili, he has been given a target to help the team qualify for the Afcon finals which Malawi last reached a decade ago.