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Coaches lose buying power

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By Mabvuto Kambuwe:

The 2019 football season is set to officially kick off on March 30 with the Charity Shield at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre with four teams in action.

These are TNM Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets, Fisd Challenge Cup winners Be Forward Wanderers, Airtel Top 8 Cup holders Blue Eagles and Carlsberg Cup kings Masters Security.

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The grueling Super League contest will only roll into action on April 14 with Bullets playing against TN Stars in Kasungu during the launch match.

Almost all teams competing in various leagues have gone back to the pitch to ensure that they are in good shape ahead of the league’s kick off in a harmonised football calendar that ends in December.

In a bid to prepare well for the new season, teams have been assessing their squads with the performances of individual players being the major area of focus.

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During such exercises, teams resolve to release some players and get others on board as they attempt to build better squads.

Under normal circumstances, it is technical panels that make recommendations to club officials on which players to let go and which ones to keep.

More importantly, club coaches play crucial roles in deciding which players to buy and for which positions.

But things seem to be somehow different in the Malawi scenario where many coaches have been left disgruntled for years and have suffered in silence as they do not have full control over transfers.

There have been cases where officials just rush to buy players of their liking without necessarily hearing from their coaches.

Such officials would, sometimes, just buy players to weaken their opponents or merely out of excitement.

There are times when club administrators invade the market just for the sake of it. They would do this to be seen to be doing something to appease their hard-to-please supporters.

It is normal for the country’s big teams to demand instant results. There are hardly any supporters at Nyasa Big Bullets or Be Forward Wanderers who would buy excuses for their respective teams’ failure to win silverware in a season.

To them, their team is the best and it must win everything on offer. This leads into desperation for results, as such the giants usually go for big names to strengthen their squads.

A case in point is what has happened in the Bullets camp where Coach Calisto Pasuwa emptied his chest, faulting the club’s new signings.

Pasuwa said he wanted to promote more players from the team’s reserve side. But the coach later claimed that he was misquoted.

However, the turn of events might be a clear indication that most local coaches are suffering in silence.

Luanar FC mentor Millias Pofera Jegwe admitted that most local coaches do not have full control over transfers.

“On paper, it looks like coaches sign players they want but on the ground, most of the players are bought by executive committees due to pressure from supporters. They just impose players on the coaches and if you refuse to accommodate their player, you are fired. It is not easy for the coaches to make decisions on transfers,” Pofera said.

Masters Security Coach Abasi Makawa also concurred with Pofera, saying coaches sometimes endure difficult working conditions.

“It happens all over the world that some players are brought in by officials. But as a coach, you assess players during training. If a player is good, it does not matter who recommended him. His performance is what we look for,” Makawa said.

Giants Bullets, Wanderers, Silver Strikers and Civil Sporting Club have been the busiest Super League teams on the market in the current transfer window.

Recently, Bullets Chief Executive Officer Fleetwood Haiya said they signed players on recommendation from the technical panel.

“We signed the players that the technical panel asked for and we hope we will do well in the 2019 season. But we have reserved one slot to sign one player in case of injuries,” Haiya said.

The People’s Team has signed defender Precious Sambani, striker Luke Chima, defender Gomezgani Chirwa and midfielder Ben Manyozo.

Silver General Secretary, Lawrence Yobe, said they recruited players on recommendation from the technical panel.

“Before making any signing, we ask the coaches to give us names of the players they want. Then we do our part as an executive committee. We do not interfere with coaches’ plans for the season,” Yobe

said.

The Central Bankers have signed midfielder Ernest Tambe, goalkeeper Charles Thom and attacker Sherrif Shamama while Wanderers have recruited midfielder Francis Mkonda, and strikers Babatunde Adepoju and Peter Kasonga.

Reports suggest that Wanderers are also set to unveil Vincent Nyangulu from Masters.

Civil’s new recruits are Blessings Kameza, Dan Kumwenda, Damiano Kunje, Gregory Nachipo and Emmanuel Zoya.

Influential club officials may easily have their way in signing players of their choice but it is the coach who takes the blame each time a team fails to perform.

Football administrators should learn to respect their coaches but signing only those players that fit into their coaches’ plans.

This will bring back sanity into our game which is making efforts to turn professional

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