At the mention of a Caf B-Licence as the minimum qualification for a TNM Super League coach, Red Lions’ caretaker trainer, Nelson Chirwa, will challenge you that advanced qualifications are mere papers and that a coach is measured by results.
“Coaching is not about papers but delivering on the ground,” Chirwa says.
True to his words, Chirwa, a Football Association of Malawi (Fam) C-Licence holder, was the talk of town towards the end of the just-concluded season after saving Lions from relegation by posting five wins out of six remaining games.
However, the tricky part is that Chirwa does not possess the minimum Caf B- Licence which Fam demands. Lions might have to look for a qualified coach next season.
But considering that Chirwa replaced Caf B-Licence holder Mike Kumanga after he failed to deliver, surely the argument that such papers do not make one a good coach carry weight.
Two years ago when Fam introduced the Caf B-Licence as the minimum qualification, the system had received mixed reactions.
In 2016, Be Forward Wanderers and Civil Sporting Club could not easily come to terms with the reality of letting go their coaches, Elia Kananji and Oscar Kaunda, respectively, for not having the Caf B coaching licences.
This was after Kananji had guided Wanderers to Carlsberg Cup glory in 2016 while Kaunda had won Standard Cup with Civil.
Kananji won the same cup after crossing the floor to Nyasa Big Bullets.
As the system enters a third season, there are questions on whether the qualified coaches have lived up to their billing.
Veteran football analyst Peterkins Kayira feels that the idea (to have Caf B coaches) is good but faulted the manner in which it is being implemented.
“Teams have been forced to put people with Caf B licences as coaches just as figureheads to avoid the consequences of having the under-qualified coaches. This means that the coaches cannot earn respect from players because players know that the coaches have no knowledge of football tactics and the laws of the game,” Kayira said.
For instance, Dwangwa United’s Macdonald Mtetemera, Masters Security’s Benjamin Kumwenda, Kumanga, Blue Eagle’s Audlow Makonyola were some notable casualties.
Seasoned soccer pundit Charles Nyirenda once noted that hiring qualified coaches alone was not the currency for success in football.
“It is not a question of teams hiring qualified coaches, as a lot is involved for a team to do well. A team has to be financially sound to be paying the coaches and players on time. Good facilities and other resources are also a prerequisite,” Nyirenda said.
In Malawian context where most Super League teams do not enjoy good sponsorship, certainly nothing much can be expected from Caf-B licenced coaches.
However, nothing beats education, so goes the saying.
Teams that have grabbed trophies for the past two seasons have been headed by Caf-B Licenced coaches; making a bold statement that these coaches are not there merely to fulfill club licencing demands.
Coaches such as Kamuzu Barracks’ Billy Phambala will surely run short of words in glorifying the papers.
Phambala won the Fisd Challenge Cup while another Caf A Licence holder Yasin Osman claimed the league championship and Lovemore Fazili (Caf B) bagged the Airtel Top 8 Cup. Unqualified Kananji guided Bullets to Carlsberg Cup glory.
Phambala, a Caf B-Licence holder, has had successful back to back after also winning the league championship last season, and he also won the Carlsberg Cup a few years ago with Kamuzu Barracks.
Former Flames defender Meke Mwase has also guided TN Stars to Chipiku Central Region Football Association Premier championship with another Caf B holder Mabvuto Lungu achieveing a similar feat in the Southern Region with Nchalo United.
“If we are to improve football in the country, we need to follow proper standards of coaching,” Mwase said.
Relegated Chitipa United Coach Kondwani Mwalweni said challenges facing most teams in the league affect coaches hence it is difficult for them to deliver.
After all is said and done, it is an undisputable fact that Malawi football requires more qualified coaches if football standards are to improve. Of course, resources are also critical to success.
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