Outgoing Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) has pleaded with FAM and his prospective successor to maintain the team that he has built during his two-year stint.
The Belgian tactician’s two-year contract expires next Monday and he doubts the prospects of renewal as he has not heard anything yet from his employers, Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
In an interview yesterday, RVG said: “I have two to three offers and opportunities that I have to look at and consider.
“So, the issue about my [Flames] contract is not important. The important issue is that it is my wish that this team of young senior players that played against Morocco together with the Under-23 should be maintained as one group.
“It will be disappointing that after all the hardwork and direction that we took as a technical panel to build a strong future Flames, the team is discarded.
“It is my wish that FAM and the football fraternity in Malawi will follow the direction that we took two years ago.
“It is not important who is the coach and, therefore, it will not be proper start all over again with old players.”
RVG also said he is impressed with the team’s results in the 2019 Afcon qualifiers.
“With due respect to the class of 2010 which had to go through two rigorous rounds of qualification, they qualified with four points after finishing third in a group in which Ivory Coast was the notable giant.
“But with the current team, it has also finished third but with a point more [five] and further to that, it had in its group two continental giants Cameroon, who are the reigning African champions and Morocco. So, yes it could have been better, but these boys did try considering that they are a fairly young squad,” he said.
RVG also said while everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on his performance, “but it’s important to be objective”.
Seasoned tactician Yasin ‘Titch’ Osman said he agrees with RVG that the team should be maintained.
“Building a team is not an overnight exercise. It takes two to three years and if a new coach comes in and decides to start all over again, then it means all his [RVG] efforts will go down the drain which will be unfortunate.
“To me, I think he has assembled a good side, but then there is need to balance it with some senior players as well. It would also help in terms of guidance and instilling confidence in the younger players,” he said.
FAM technical subcommittee chairperson James Mwenda, who is also the association’s vice-president, said they will soon meet to evaluate RVG’s performance “before making recommendations to the executive committee”.
Meanwhile, RVG is reported to have bade farewell to the Flames after the Morocco game at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Friday.
One of the senior players confided to The Nation that: “He told us that he was happy to have worked with us for two years.
“It sounded as if he won’t be around for long. He said it was his hope that the incoming coach would maintain the current squad. He sounded a bit emotional, but relaxed at the same time.”
One of his backroom staff members said: : “When he arrived in Lilongwe on Thursday, he told us that he will no longer be with us because as a professional coach, he was supposed to know his fate six months before the expiry of his contract, but up to now he is in the dark.”
Under RVG the Flames won two games, drew 11 and lost eight, but he insists that he was not in charge in the first two games against Kenya and Madagascar which Malawi drew and lost, respectively. n