You now see why I said we need to do more than just remove our national team technical panel if we are to achieve something in our football? The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) forgot its limitations and went ahead to announce a decision for which it was not the final authority. It even went as far as announcing the way forward without getting commitment from the final authority.
In my last entry I did ask whether government would be supporting FAM’s intention to replace Kinnah Phiri and his backroom staff with a panel headed by an expatriate. I also asked if anything else would change given that the coaching panel is only one ingredient in coming up with the kind of team all Malawians dream of— one that wins more matches than it loses.
From what has transpired this week, the answer to both questions is a resounding no. I am even more worried with the latter point because it is very crucial. Unless we improve the way we make decisions and execute them, improving Malawi football will remain a pipedream. We cannot realistically hope for a better future for our game if we continue on the path we have been on in the last few years.
Listening to Sports and Youth Development Minister Enoch Chihana, you get the sense that although government left the decision on the technical panel in the hands of FAM and Sports Council, the football association breached protocol by making their recommendation public without the blessings of government. I would also have felt undermined if I were in the minister’s shoes.
The best way to handle this situation would have been for FAM to make its case to government and wait on the authorities before making the announcement they made. Rules of natural justice would have required that the affected people be heard before government makes the final decision. But FAM decided to issue a public statement on its recommendation which has now put it in an awkward position.
We now are in a situation where a meeting that should have taken place before the announcement has now been called for by government. Imagine a situation where the technical panel makes a compelling case that leads to the retention of their services as the final decision? Would the FAM leadership not have lost its authority and, with it, the right to remain in office? All this was avoidable.
I have said elsewhere that the end should not always justify the means. The fact that something is right does not mean it can be done at any cost. Procedures need to be followed even when making what appears to be a popular decision and FAM leaders will be left with egg all over their faces because they were so eager to pander to public whim. This is something that needs to be addressed as well.
Meanwhile, it is FA Cup fourth round weekend in England with no fixture that really stands out as all the big guns have successfully avoided each other. Of course, you have some all-Premier league games involving the Manchester sides, but there are very little edge-of-the-seat pairings. What that means is that there is greater potential for an upset or two as giants meet minnows. n