Malawi national football team Head Coach, Ronny van Geneugden (RVG), has named Patrick Mabedi as his new co-assistant Coach, following the dropping of Gerald Phiri Senior, the only setback being that the appointment is on a temporary basis.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President, Walter Nyamilandu, yesterday confirmed that RVG had opted for Mabedi, who is an assistant coach at South Africa’s Premier Soccer League giants Kaizer Chiefs, as deputy coach to join the Flames’ panel that has seen Peter Mponda and James Sangala retained as co-assistant Coach and Team Manager, respectively.
“The coaches have been recruited on a part-time basis; hence, they will be allowed to report for official duties with their clubs. Mponda is available until the end of the year when his position will be clear by December after contesting for primaries [for the position of Member of Parliament] in his constituency [Blantyre South].
“Mabedi will be available during Fifa calendar dates and during off-season. The Head Coach will, from time to time, call for services of coaches in the youth national teams, depending on the situation,” Nyamilandu said.
Mabedi Sunday confirmed that Nyamilandu contacted him over the possibility of returning to the Flames, having also served in similar capacity under Eddingtone Ng’onamo and caretaker trainer Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan.
“I, personally, have no problem serving my country. After all, I am where I am because of my country. But, at the same time, I told them to write my club [Chiefs], and if they agree to be releasing me, I have no problem. I am still contracted to Chiefs until 2019 and, as a professional, I need to follow protocol,” the former Flames captain said.
Previous third assistant coach, Deklerk Msakakuona, who, alongside Phiri, was imposed by Fam on the Belgian when he was hired last April, has been maintained as Malawi under-17 national football team mentor alongside Temwa Msuku and Enos Chatama as assistant coach and Team Manager, respectively.
Phiri, who fell out with RVG, has paved way for TN Stars’ mentor Meke Mwase as Malawi under-20 national football team coach in a coaching panel that now includes Silver Strikers’ mentor Lovemore Fazili and Griffin Saenda Junior as deputy coach and Team Manager, respectively.
The changing and chopping in the national team means that RVG might, at the end of his two-year contract, leave without one particular coach to hand over the mantle to.
Capital Radio seasoned sports journalist, Madalitso Phiri, Sunday welcomed the recall of Mabedi, saying with his vast international football experience, he can become a good coach for the Flames.
“I cautiously welcome the development. He [Mabedi] is a legend. If they can maintain him, the team stands to benefit. But what went wrong with Gerald and Deklerk? When they were coming in, we were made to believe that they were to understudy RVG. I would not be surprised if Patrick falls into bad books with the coach and is replaced again. We keep doing the very same things and hope for different results,” Phiri said.
Fam has hired and fired four coaches in the last three years, thereby undermining the progress of the team, which, later this year, will continue competing in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in a group that comprises Cameroon, Morocco and Comoros islands.