Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said the contract for the national team coach RVG extends up to the end of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers and that mandate will be respected because the Flames are still in contention.
Nyamilandu made this statement at a news conference he convened on Wednesday September 19 at FAM’s Mpira Village at Chiwembe in Limbe that was convened to clear the air following calls for the resignation of RVG after the 0-3 loss to Morocco in Casablanca a fortnight ago.
“FAM is equally concerned with the recent poor performance of the Flames, more especially the 0-3 loss to Morocco,” Nyamilandu said. “Our desire is to do well in this qualification campaign and make it to the AFCON finals in Cameroon next year.
“However, we believe all is not lost in as far as the AFCON campaign is concerned. We have played two games and we have won one and lost the other. We have three points just like Morocco and just a point behind the leaders Cameroon. Our destiny is in our hands.
“From the moment the draw was made last year, we knew the big challenge that was ahead of us when we were paired against the defending AFCON champions Cameroon and Morocco that qualified for the 2018 Russia World Cup.
“Ours is a tough group with top African teams and in a group with strict qualification terms unlike the other groups. This is why, as FAM Executive Committee, we made a decision to hire a qualified professional coach to help us build a strong team and we settled for RVG, who was given a two-year contract with the main mandate to take us to the AFCON 2019.
“We hire him because of his top qualifications (UEFA Pro Licence) and his exposure amongst the crop that submitted their application letters. Considering our past, where the national team was not growing as it comprised the alreay tried and tested still making the backbone yet with no tangible results, RVG made a bold decision to rebuild the Flames from bottom up.”
He said RVG brought in new faces and the results in the past two years through the COSAFA tournament and friendlies have been poor but that’s the price paid for the rebuilding process.
“Those matches were a platform for him to try the new players through his style of play and we must say it is quite commendable to note that the coach has finally identified a crop of players who now form an integral part of this squad.
“It means that the rebuilding process is on track because during the recent training camp, 12 of the 25 players that earned their first caps were RVG’s. We went to Morocco with eight players identified by RVG such as Richard Mbulù, Gomezgani Chirwa, Peter Cholopi, Dennis Chembezi, Precious Sambani, Felix Zulu, Jabulani Linje, Patrick Phiri, Fletcher Bandawe, Ian Chinyama, Simon Singa and Binwell Katinji, who are the future of the Flames.
“So having given the coach that chance to build a new team for the past 17 months, his meaningful work and targets have really just started with the Morocco game and it would be unfair to call for his resignation now as he is on track with the AFCON qualification.
“Irrespective of the outcome of the campaign, the Flames will come out stronger and bigger than when they started the campaign. We are currently at the critical stage of the campaign where we need to give the coach, his backroom staff and the whole team more support.
“It will defeat the whole purpose of our plan to have heads rolling in the middle of the campaign which we are still in contention like any other team. We are three weeks away from playing two crucial matches against Cameroon and letting him go now will disturb our preparations and defeat the whole purpose of recruiting him.”
As a recap, the format for Group B is that the group winners qualify for the 2019 AFCON finals while the runners up also qualify if they are among the three best runners up. Even though Cameroon are the hosts of the finals and have already qualified automatically, all matches of the host team will count leading to three possible scenarios.
If the host team are the winners of the group, the runners up will automatically qualify to the finals. No other team will be eligible to qualify from this group and if the host team are the runners up, only the winner s of the group will qualify to the finals.
Finaly if the host team are either in 3rd or 4th place, the winners of the group qualify to the finals and the runners up will be eligible to qualify as one of the best runner up.
“RVG signed for this challenge to take on Morocco and Cameroon for a place at the AFCON finals and he must conclude the work that he started. With few weeks to go before the campaign gets into the decisive matches, we can’t transfer this challenge to another coach who will, at the end of the day, have excuses of little time if they fail to deliver.
“RVG has four matches to achieve his target of 2019 AFCON qualification, so we must accord him a fair chance to finish his challenge so that we can objectively assess his performance at the end of the campaign,” Nyamilandu said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :