Malawi national football team, the Flames, have drawn their last 5 games (3 strength testing and 2 competitive) and face a crucial fixture against Chad in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier this Saturday.
Rumblings of discontent amongst soccer fans during last Saturday’s one- all draw with Nigeria at home have increased the spotlight on the coach, despite the seemingly steadfast backing of the football chief, Walter Nyamilandu.
The Timau Crewdraws a true picture of the whole fallout so that genuine soccer fans can make an appraisal for themselves.
This is what is happening.
Some people are arguing that the national football coach, Kinnah Phiri, has run out of ideas. Certainly not us!
When the Timau Crew began its crusade for a massive support for the Flames in the build up to 2010 qualifiers, the crew was mocked by sections of some Malawians in the same way when we applauded the appointment of Kinnah.
For the first cause, they said that we were being over ambitious as Malawi could not qualify for the 2010 AFCON and for the second one, they simply questioned, “Who is Kinnah?”
Well, Kinnah did his job and Malawi qualified for the Angola finals after beating giants of African football like Egypt , DRC Congo and Guinea on the way.
And today, people are sulking because Malawi drew with Nigeria . Are we getting this right, a draw with Nigeria and Kinnah should go? Kinnah must stay! He must stay because he has set football standards very, very high in Malawi so much that people are even dreaming of Malawi winning against an African powerhouse like Nigeria .
Although citing poor finishing as a key factor in the team’s recent below-par performances, Kinnah has grown increasingly frustrated with lack of fitness of some of his key players who lack game time in their respective clubs in South Africa, he is trying to build a new team mainly based on local players who play regular football in their respective clubs and now, amongst all the teams in Africa, the young boys drew with African big boys Nigeria, what else do people want from Kinnah?
At Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has enjoyed a great deal of support and backing from the club board directors and fans who have demonstrated exceptional faith in the manager and his long term vision-despite failing to win a trophy at the club since 2005 supporters regularly display banners affirming, “Arsene Knows” and “in Arsene, we trust” Maybe we should borrow a leaf or two from these Arsenal supporters because football needs patience and it is this patience that is lacking in Malawian soccer fans.
Give Kinnah a chance; it takes time for a new culture to evolve in football, some players will embrace it and thrive some won’t and will fall by the wayside.
The national team coach has to put up with a lot of technical hitches; the national team is poorly funded. Sometimes they play competitive games without playing any friendly matches. Their game allowances are probably the lowest in the world.
Our Super league is a disgrace; some teams in the league have no sponsorship, players walk or hitchhike to go and play league games, and this is supposedly the league Kinnah has to choose national team players from. We must understand that he is working to his teeth. He is coaching football in a country where there are no football academies, teams in the Super league do not have junior teams, which means that when a player reaches his limit it’s hard to get a replacement.
The coaching panel comprises the following, Kinnah Phiri, Young Chimodzi and Stuart Mbolembole With the current brand of coaches in Malawi , can you please make your own combinations and come up with a trio that will be of better-quality than the one above. In short, this trio is simply the best we have so far.
As a soccer coach one should always want to learn and become better, this trio has demonstrated this as they have won, drawn big games.
A great coach is not easy to find and requires a very unique set of talents and skills and that makes it difficult to find one.
A great football coach must be; a motivator, an effective communicator, must lead by example, display commitment and should be able to identify hidden talent.
Does Kinnah have all these? Of course, yes! All he needs is time and we are wondering why some people are baying for his blood.
This man was the Chief Executive of the Football association at some point. It is a shame that he is criticising what his friends have achieved today. Masina should be applauding not attacking. We, the Timau crew have nothing to write about him but only to ask him one question and the question is: what did Malawi achieve when he, George Kaudza-Masina was at Fam. We in turn give a round of applause to Charles Nyirenda, for when he was in Masina’s shoes, Malawi qualified for the 2010 AFCON.
Some lunatics are saying that Kinnah is selecting the team on tribal basis – what nonsense! If he has 6 best players from one region should he put them on the substitute bench just because of fearing to be labelled a tribalist? Should we bring the University quota system to football? At one point the national team had Barnett Gondwe, Kinnah Phiri and Spy Msiska all from the north, the Coach was Ted Powell, why did you not call him a tribalist?
And, this was the Malawi starting line up when the host nation played Nigeria on 7 June; Simplex Nthara, Foster Namwela, Moses Chavula, Limbikani Mzava, James Sangala, Dave Banda, Joseph Kamwendo, Robin Ngalande, Chimango Kaira, Russel Mwafulirwa. For Heavens Sake!! How many players are from the north in this line up?
Finally, if you loath Kinnah Phiri, maybe you are the only one. Certainly not us, the Timau Crew. Nor the Fam President Walter Nyamilandu. Without doubt not the Sports minister, Enoch Chihana and of course not the National Sports Councils.
In Zambia , Kalusha Bwalya, the Faz President, single-handedly stood for the current coach against all odds and they won the Africa Cup. Walter, do not be swayed by Monday coaches or people who do not even watch football.