Following a very characteristic Cosafa Castle Cup exit, some coaches have given their candid analysis on Malawi national football team Coach Ronny van Geneugden’s performance in the seven games he has been in charge of the misfiring Flames since April.
Most of the coaches have no iota of doubt that it will take ages before the players get on the same page of the passing playing philosophy with van Geneugden.
The Belgian, grappling with a team whose human resource base in paper-thin due to slumping domestic league standards and lack of investment in junior national teams, has posted a single win in seven games of three defeats and three draws.
When van Geneugden picked the job, he had three cups to compete in—Cosafa, African Nations Championship (Chan) and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
Now the Flames have crashed out of two competitions and await very tough Afcon qualifying campaign that has Morocco, Africa kings Cameroon and Comoros on the way.
Malawi laboured to a 1-0 win over Comoros in the first leg at home.
So how does former Malawi caretaker coach and current Be Forward Wanderers mentor, Yasin Osman, rate van Geneugden?
Malawi News had asked Osman, alongside Masters Security’s Benjamin Kumwenda, to rate the Flames mentor based on the team’s style of play, player selection and tactics.
On tactics, Osman said: “The passing game that they are playing is good because it develops confidence in the players, but they need to be taught that the passing has to have an end result, which is shooting at goal or creating goal scoring chances.”
“On selection, it is difficult to assess [him] because we don’t know what the coach was aiming at (a) The possession game or (b) giving the players exposure or (c) looking at getting a winning formula (goals).”
Overall, the former Fam general secretary said the coach needs to be given time and be assessed better when he has all the players at his disposal. Malawi was unable to feature foreign-based players at the Cosafa Cup.
Kumwenda, who boasts a Caf –Licence and an instructors’ badge, also seemed to agree with Osman that it would take time for van Geneugden to change the Malawi football playing style. The Belgian was quoted to have described the current local league football as ping-pong.
“The team selection rests in the hands of every coach. Therefore, I would say the players he selected are the best to him in the way he wants football to be played (football philosophy). On team tactics, our team has played much in its own half, doing very little in the attacking third, hence when you play like that goals are minimal.
“The system used of 3-4-3 in the Tanzania game, with Stanley Sanudi and Francis Mlimbika on the flanks, made the team not to be offensive, leaving Jabulani Linje as a box player hence chances of having goals were slim,” he explained.
Other coaches seemed to agree with Osman and Kumwenda’s opinion, saying while van Geneugden was doing the right thing in changing the playing style, the team has a long way to go.
As expected, Fam President Walter Nyamilandu thinks that the Belgian has tried his best with the tools at his disposal.
“The outcome is certainly not desired in terms of winning, but bear in mind that this was a developmental competition. We were exposing a lot of young players. In terms of building a team, you can see a lot of young players being introduced. One can tell that the team is being coached,” Nyamilandu insisted.
The Flames could also be suffering due to too much chopping and changing of coaches. Work is cut out for the coach.
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