Push comes to shove. Be Forward Wanderers are set to name a new technical panel today following pressure from the team’s followers in the wake of two successive home defeats.
The Nomads were left searching their soul following their 1-3 TNM Super League loss to Blue Eagles on Sunday which came barely a week after going down 0-1 to Silver Strikers in the quarter-final first leg of the Airtel Top 8 at the Kamuzu Stadium.
Wanderers general secretary (GS) Mike Butao yesterday confirmed that they are set to make changes in the composition of the coaching panel, but kept a tight lid on the possible casualties.
“We should not be playing the way we are and we understand the anger from the fans, but all we are asking [from them]
is patience. We will be making an announcement tomorrow [today],” he said.
But some Wanderers insiders confided that the Lali Lubani Road outfit is courting its former coach and player Gerald Phiri, currently in charge of Mighty Tigers.
During pre-season, Butao said the first step was to review the squad following the departure of some players.
“The next step was to reorganise the technical panel, but many people objected to the idea and we hope that the [same] people can understand why we wanted to take that route,” he said.
On his part, the team’s coach Bob Mpinganjira also pleaded for patience from the team’s stakeholders.
“I understand how they
feel because no one wants their team to lose, but we all need to pull in the same direction if we are to recover.
“What needs to be understood clearly is that when we lost five key players at the end of last season, we had to replace them with new ones which we did.
“Now, the new players came just before the start of the season and there was hardly time for them to gel with the others. It is a process that takes time, but we will sort that out,” he said.
Mpinganjira also said his involvement and that of other players with national teams did not help matters, “as we did not have much time to work with the players”.
He said: “So, my plea to the supporters is that they should cool down because what some of them are doing by insulting the technical panel or the players will not help matters. Let us collectively work on addressing our challenges.”
Asked if he is under pressure, the coach drew a long breath and said: “Pressure is always there, especially when you are coaching a big team like Wanderers, but we will get to the bottom of it.”
Football analyst and the club’s former chairperson Humphreys Mvula observed that the major problem at the club is that sponsors are not prepared to invest a fortune by hiring seasoned coaches.
He said: “They
are prepared to folk out enough for the players’ salaries and not coaches and, as a result, the club is happy to employ mediocre coaches because they cannot afford proper coaches.
“Look, Bob is an apprentice who is still learning the ropes, his assistant [Allan Kamanga] is just a kid with no qualifications while, with due respect, the technical director [Yasin Osman] is wise in the ways of football, but is past his prime.
“So, the technical panel is lost in the forest of football. They do not know what is happening or how to handle the situation,” he said.
Mvula also did not spare the executive committee, saying it lacks technical depth.
“In Gift [Mkandawire] they have a great chairman and in Butao, a good administrator, but they are failing to supervise the technical panel by, among other things, having weekly review meetings because that is the best platform to take coaches to task.”