Tension is reportedly mounting in Football Association of Malawi’s (Fam) rank and file due to Malawi national football team Coach, Ronny van Geneugden’s (RVG) unilateral decision to appoint his assistants and junior national team coaches, including some who are under-qualified.
Fam Youth and Technical Committee is responsible for, in consultation with technical director’s office and National Coaches Association, proposing names of such coaches and submit them to the association’s Executive Committee for approval.
The latest appointments did not follow such a procedure.
RVG’s decision, which Fam President, Walter Nyamilandu, has backed, has reportedly left the committee’s members disgruntled.
The members felt that the coach hijacked their terms of reference by going ahead to unveil Patrick Mabedi and Peter Mponda, who is under-qualified, as assistant coaches, with another less qualified coach, Temwa Msuku, made deputy to under-17 mentor Deklerk Msakakuona. RVG dropped Gerald Phiri Senior as his assistant.
“It appears the coach goes directly to the president, and he made these appointments when he is a mere employee of the association. That is not part of his job description,” the committee’s member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
The committee’s Vice- Chairperson, Jabbar Alide, without necessarily referring to the latest appointments, yesterday said he was reconsidering his membership to the committee.
“I am considering my options on whether to continue as a member of the committee,” Alide said while referring questions pertaining to the appointed coaches to the committee’s Chairperson, James Mwenda, who could not be reached Thursday.
The committee’s member, Bester Kalombo, Thursday said he only heard about the newly appointed coaches through the press, adding that the last meeting he attended asked RVG to bring a comprehensive report justifying why he was dropping and hiring some coaches.
“The committee was of the view that he had to give his rationale of dropping some and taking some. We asked for reasons, which he did not give. We asked him to go back, liaise with Technical Director [John Kaputa] and come back to us. Now the next thing we heard was that the appointments had been made,” Kalombo said.
Objective 3 of the committee clearly gives this wing powers to be fully involved and recommend coaches for all national teams.
Sub-section 3.2.1 states that the committee shall “recommend coaches, instructors or trainers for all the national football teams to Executive [Committee] and seek the improvement of training methods.”
The appointment of Caf C-Licence holders to serve in the national team coaching panels when Fam set Caf B Licence as the minimum qualification for Super League head coaches had National Coaches Association, through its General Secretary, Dave Mpima, accusing the association of double standards.
But Nyamilandu on Monday claimed that RVG made the appointments after extensive consultations, adding that he has the mandate to pick his assistants as he is responsible for the national teams’ performance.
“He even met some members of the coaches’ committee. So, the issue of consulting the coaches does not arise. We do not want to impose names on the national coach. We want to ensure that he gets the right tools for his job,” he said.
Nyamilandu said the under-qualified coaches would undergo an upgrading programme to make them comply with Club Licensing System requirements.
“We do not want to stifle progress. These coaches have the potential to do well. We cannot leave them out just because they do not have the qualifications. This is a plan that suits them. It will help us to come up with several names of potential candidates to replace RVG when his time is up,” Nyamilandu said.
However, previous Flames’ coaches such as Young Chimodzi, Stephen Constantine and Kinnah Phiri never appointed junior national team coaches.
Malawi has over 60 coaches with Caf B and A Licences, and, soon, Confederation of African Football will make Caf Diploma a minimum qualification for national team coaches.