When he arrived in Malawi, his voice was unmistakable, a roar like a hungry lion at Kasungu National Park and his poetic language, was unique, only comparable to Malawi’s export to the United Kingdom, Daliso Chaponda who came third in the famous TV show, Britain has got talent(BGT).
Ronny Van Geneugden (RVG) Malawi’s national football team (The Flames) coach, has got a mountain to climb when his side takes own Comoros Islands in the Africa nations cup qualifier match this Saturday (10/06/17) at Bingu International stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital.
After two underwhelming, flabby and borderline nonsensical performances against less fancied Madagascar, Malawians cannot afford to sit in the terraces to watch yet another lukewarm performance from the Flames.
Yes, Malawi lost 1-0 both away and at home against 97th placed Madagascar (according to FIFA rankings), however, I am happy to report that RVG knows the importance and bearing of the Saturday game against ComorosIslands on his career in Malawi. Simply put; “win or we (Malawians) start questioning your (RVG) coaching skills.
Fortunately for RVG, he is being backed by Malawi’s superlative football commentator, self-proclaimed “Grandmaster” of Malawi football, Charles Nyirenda. The Grandmaster cannot be faulted, looking at his long-time football achievements in Malawi. The football verses according to the gospel of Nyirenda, simply read, “we wanted a foreign coach and now let us support him”. These are good football stanzas to read, nonetheless, football fans don’t wantPontius Pilate judgements but results. Ronny Van Geneugden, our dear coach, whatMalawians are crying for is “Jesus and not Barabbas” (deserving results).
Football fans at large are voicing one word and they are saying that RVG’s team selection is good. How? As far as I am concerned it is the same players. When Kinnah Phiri called the same players into camp, he was labelled nepotistic by fans, “Monday coaches” dubbed Young Chimodzi with the same players as a coach without ideas. When Ernest Mtawali named the same players, the social media was awash with comments like, “Mtawali is not an experienced coach”. My message to RVG is simple-same players but different tactics, “RVG, show Malawians that you are different. Make Malawians smile”.
I will now base my argument on statistics; this is a reminder to RVG that as Malawians, we understand our football. In case you are lost RVG here you are; your team lost to Madagascar, this is how Madagascar is rated by FIFA against Malawi.
Madagascar: Current FIFA ranking is 97 against Malawi’s is 117.
Madagascar: average ranking since FIFA ranking creation; 139 against Malawi’s 101 (this is why I am calling them less fancied). Now, let us go to our Saturday opponents, Comoros Islands.
Comoros Islands: Current FIFA ranking is 144 against Malawi’s 117.
Comoros Islands FIFA ranking since FIFA world ranking creation is 181 against Malawi’s 101. RVG, if we lose to this team, I will not recommend your dismissal but I will paint “doubting football coaching techniques on your face”, However, it will be naïve to underrate Comoros Islands and start throwing spanners at RVG when one looks at results by Comoros Islands between 2016 and 2017:
- 4/09/2016 Afcon: Uganda 1-0 Comoros
- 11/11/16 Friendly: Togo 2-2 Comoros
- 15/11/16 Friendly: Gabon 1-1 Comoros
- 24/3/17Afcon: Comoros 2-0 Mauritius
- 28/3/17Afcon: Mauritius 1-1 Comoros
- 4/6/17 Friendly: Togo 2-0 Comoros
Football Association of Malawi (FAM), get this right, on 4th of June 2017, Comoros Islands played a friendly againstTogo though they lost 2-0 at least they have demonstrated how seriously they are taking the game against Malawi and yet in Blantyre during the same week Comoros Islands were playing a friendly; FAM was failing to raise funds for the national team to go into camp. If we lose; who is to blame? RVG or FAM?
As an enraged Malawian, I send this message to Roony Van Geneugde, a Belgium born, Flames tactician, “if you(RVG) want to win the hearts of Malawians back on your side after a disastrous start against Madagascar; you should promise Malawian football fans that your team will beat Comoros Islands on Saturday 10th June 2017, common sense should tell you this”
Only a victory on Saturday will secure RVG’s future and prevent football fanatics and “Monday coaches” from betraying his(RVG) career in the warm heart of Africa.
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