The TNM Super League Â in Malawi is now at its half way mark and five coaches have been shown the door in a latest confirmation that this job has always been the risky. What more in a country where everyone thinks they can coach?
But the coaches are not blameless, either. They allow to be pushed around by every Jim and Jack.
â€œThey lack the clout,â€ a veteran sports journalist hit the nail on the head.
Charles Manda, McDonald Mtetemera, Aubrey Nankhuni are down, and look certainly out of Escom United. Thom Mkorongo is out of Silver Strikers, his misfortune now serving as Frank â€˜Franco Ndawaâ€™s fortune.
In contrast, last season, Daniel Dzinkambani lost his Silver job twice, Lloyd Nkhwazi was demoted at Bullets, Audley Makonyola was Blue Eaglesâ€™ sacrificial lamb. Now reinstated, Stereo Gondwe was sacked at Mafco FC. Azam Tigers preyed on Mtetemera.
This season is proving no different. Mkorongoâ€™s exit at the central bankers looked well choreographed. As soon as Mighty Wanderersâ€™ revolving door flung Ndawa out of the Lali Lubani Road after a five-game losing streak in all competitions, Silver saw an opportunity to get their man.
It only made sense that the masters in the business of hiring and firing coaches, Wanderers, should lead the way in getting rid of Ndawa after a five-game losing streak in games of all competition.
Forget that Ndawa won the Nomads last seasonâ€™s Presidential Cup and that this season, he had to go on â€œmutual agreementâ€™ as club secretary David Kanyenda put it diplomatically.
Part of the agreement was that Ndawa was to be gagged.
â€œI have been advised not to comment,â€ he said.
But the biggest question is not where Ndawa is coming from, but the environment of his new job at Silver, where the fans and some misguided officials are as unreasonable as they can, at times, self-destructive.
His superior tactics aside, Ndawa appears much another version of Mkorongo. Quiet, mild to almost a fault that you hardly feel they are in control.
Mkorongo, who is seeking Industrial Court redress, was kicked out even when Silver were leading the Super League race with a near blameless home record with their Presidential Cup exit being the only blot.
â€œWhen I came, Silver only had one player in the national team, now, they have six,â€ Mkorongo argued his case against the unfair dismissal.
Well, even club legend Lovemore Fazili was pushed out for what then general secretary Gibson Mkanda called, â€œwinning the Super League title by fluke.â€ If cult hero Young Chimodzi was pelted out of his position eight years ago, few coaches can survive at Silver.
Wait a minute. Did Mkorongo look in control of the Bankers? His body language did not suggest so. It seemed management only brought him in realisation that players-turned-coaches Itai Nundwe, Hellings Mwakasungula and Sibusiso Padambo were unqualified.
â€œWhen we advised Silver that only C Licence holders can be head coaches, Silver complied by hiring Mkorongo,â€ National Coaches Committee president John Kaputa said last week.
Kaputa was reacting to coachesâ€™ dismissal case at Escom United where the Manda-led panel was asked to step aside as the Electricians were stuck at the bottom of the Super League table with a meagre eight points from 11 games, having managed a single win.
Club chairperson Fanuel Nkhono had seen enough rot.
â€œWe could not wait for the teamâ€™s fortunes to continue deteriorating,â€ he said.
But how on earth did Nkhonoâ€™s management expect the squad, stripped off its heart and soul after the release of eight key players, to challenge for honours?
â€œThey cheated us into believing that if we released what they felt were rude players and bring in the players they wanted, Escom would improve,â€ a source at the club revealed the reasons behind the coachesâ€™ suspension.
Manda dismissed the assertion that he asked for the release of players such as Noel Mkandawire (now back), Chimango Kaira, James Chilapondwa and Heston Munthali.
The trend in Malawi suggests that the executive buys players, oftentimes, on coachesâ€™ behalf. In some cases, without consulting the coaches. They are helpless.
The coaches share some blame. They do not stand for their rights. They lack the ambition to even coach across the borders in Mozambique. They put all their eggs in one basket.
Few stamp their authority like Eddington Ngâ€™onamo has at Bullets. Because they have no plan B to fall back on, they are so vulnerable.
The toothless bulldog that is the National Coaches Committee only makes the coachesâ€™ jobs even tougher as they have no backing. The committee hardly enforces standards, let alone fight for the rights of its members.
FAM technical director Jack Chamangwana rightly observes, â€œcoaches are fired on bottle store opinion poll results.â€