I grew up believing that soap is Lifebuoy, traffic lights are robots, toothpaste is Colgate and that every girl who called me ‘my dear’ fancied me.
Therefore, when FAM talks about going for an expatriate Flames’ coach to replace Kinnah Phiri, what springs to my corrupt mind is a bestackled and mop-haired European coach wearing a ready-made smile on arrival at Chileka Airport.
I do not think it is a coincidence that FAM has never hired an African expatriate mentor. Someone thinks only European coaches are expatriates.
And I am not for or against an expatriate, coach but just an appropriate one.
An appropriate coach would be one capable of making the most of limited resources and a depleted squad in transition like the Flames.
We must go beyond merely looking at overseas’ solutions to the Flames’ problem.
On local coaches, I do not think it is fair to suggest that all have been tried and have failed.
I would attribute Kinnah’s relative success between 2008 and 2010 to personal incentives which no other local coach has ever enjoyed.
Merits of hiring a local coach are that there would be no language barrier, forex would be saved, other home-bred coaches would be inspired and he would understand better domestic football sociology.
But behind every good local coach, there are some few bad apples that would prove right those seeking foreign solutions to the Flames’ woes.
With a local coach, expect gossip, nepotism and bias. Foreign-based players wishing to play for the Flames will be only those awaona akochi (those who have paid a courtesy call to a coach).
Many players will be sneaking out of camp, but only one will be disciplined.
When Super League games are being played, the coach will be busy playing bawo. Critics will be viewed as enemies.
Team selection will be very predictable with some players never substituted, even when off-form, because they are Ngwazi za Flames.
Bring an expatriate coach, even anyone picked from Europe’s streets, and you can be assured of meritocracy in players’ selection, fairness, scouting, planning and strategising.
But not all expatriate coaches are worth their tags. Some come to Malawi for holidaying, to grumble and make a killing. Some expatriates are just flops.
Therefore, if Malawi is to hire an expatriate, then they have to be a technical adviser/director to look at football development while offering advice to a Flames coach.