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Chosen ones

Marian Mario Marinica proposes Patrick Mabedi, Coach Franco Ndawa as his assistants

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Patrick Mabedi

Newly appointed Flames Coach Marian Mario Marinica has reportedly proposed legend Patrick Mabedi and Civil Service United Coach Franco Ndawa as his assistants, Malawi News can reveal.

The Romanian was given freedom to appoint his backroom staff after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) relieved Meck Mwase of his duties.

Marinica then decided to cast his net wider by engaging National Football Coaches Association (NFCA) which proposed six coaches including Mabedi, Ndawa, Nyasa Big Bullets Assistant Coach Peter Mponda, Ekwendeni Hammers Coach Etison Kadenge Mwafulirwa and Kamuzu Barracks Coach Charles Kamanga.

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However, a well-placed source confided in Malawi News that Marinica has settled for Mabedi, who is also Malawi Under-20 National Football Team coach and Ndawa, who also worked as Belgian Ronny Van Geneugden’s assistant in 2019.

The source further indicated that Marinica has also proposed a fellow expatriate for the position of a Data Analyst.

According to our findings, Marinica has settled for James Sangala as Flames team manager with Rodgers Mhango as his assistant.

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Sangala will replace former Flames defender Clement Kafwafwa.

In addition, Dedza Dynamos goalkeepers trainer Victor Phande is set to replace Swadick Sanudi as Flames goalkeepers’ trainer.

When contacted Friday, Marinica kept a tight lid on the composition of his backroom staff, saying Fam will make the announcement after finalising all procedures.

“The backroom staff has been approved but their formal engagement has not been finalised yet,” Marinica said.

In a recent interview, Marinica mentioned Mabedi as one of potential names to be considered for the post.

He was part of his backroom staff as he took charge of the Under-23 during the Turkey trip.

However, efforts to speak to Mabedi proved futile Friday.

When contacted Friday, Ndawa said he was not aware.

“These are just rumours. If it is true, they will inform me at an appropriate time,” Ndawa, who has coached a lot of Super League teams including Bullets, Mighty Wanderers and Silver Strikers said.

Fam Technical Subcommittee Chairperson Tiya Somba-Banda was reluctant to comment on the matter yesterday.

None from Mwase’s backroom staff has made it into the new set up.

Mwase had Lovemore Fazili and Bob Mpinganjira as his assistants.

However, some local coaches will also have an opportunity to learn from Marinica on rotational basis.

Silver assistant coach Peter Mgangira and Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve coach Enos Chatama will understudy the Romanian during the upcoming Flames camp next week.

Both NFCA chairperson Aubrey Nankhuni and General Secretary Davie Mpima refused to comment.

Sports analyst Parly Chinyama said Marinica had chosen a strong backroom staff.

“Mabedi and Ndawa have vast experience. Mabedi is a very good trainer and I believe this is a good start,” Chinyama said.

The Flames are expected to regroup next week in preparation of Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group D qualifiers against Ethiopia and Guinea between May 30 and June 14.

Malawi will face Egypt in September home and away before meeting Ethiopia and Guinea again in March next year.

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