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Ernest Mtawali eyes permanent role

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Flames’ interim coach, Ernest Mtawali, has said he would ‘definitely’ apply for the job once Football Association of Malawi (Fam) places a vacancy for the job.

The Flames legend was appointed caretaker coach of the national team on Sunday after Fam announced that it would not renew the contracts of former coach Young Chimodzi and his assistant Jack Chamangwana following a 1-2 defeat against Zimbabwe in a Group L 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Chimodzi won six, drew five and lost 12 times in his reign, forcing Fam to lose confidence in him.

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The two coaches have since been sent on leave until the expiry of their contracts on July 31.

Mtawali has been given the mandate to be in charge of the Flames in the friendly match against Uganda during Independence Day celebrations on July 6.

However, Mtawali yesterday said he was relishing the opportunity to land a permanent role at the national team.

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“I will definitely apply for a permanent job once Fam advertises for the job. I am looking forward to the challenge. I want to contribute to the success of the national team,” he said.

Mtawali, who is also the Malawi Under-20 coach, said he was grateful to Fam for giving him a temporary role at the national team and he would do his utmost to help the Flames succeed.

“My main focus will be to build the mental strength of the players. It is a very good team. The other coaches lay a good foundation. Philosophies of coaches differ, therefore I am aiming to build on what the other coaches did,” he said.

“The players are superb, but we have to motivate them. They must play every match as if their lives depended on the result. We have to attack as a team and defend as a team as well. We also have to learn to create enough chances and utilise them.”

Mtawali added that every player would be given an opportunity to prove his worth at the national team.

“I will sit down with Fam’s technical committee to strategise on how we can build a strong team. All I ask for is support from Malawians. The team has potential and, with hard work, will qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fam’s general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, said the association would appoint a permanent coach by August 1.

 

“We will advertise for the job soon. Currently, we do not have coaches in mind that is why we are giving an opportunity to all coaches to bring their CVs and apply for the job once we place an advert in the media,” he said.

Nyirenda added that the next coach’s contract would also be performance-based.

“Every contract is supposed to be performance-based so that targets should be set. This helps in evaluating the performance of the coach. We will work with experts from Fifa and Caf (Confederation of African Football) so that they can assist us in scrutinising the coaches,” he said.

Mtawali has won three, lost twice and drawn twice in his tenure as Malawi Under-20 coach.

He was on the verge of taking the Junior Flames to the finals of the 2015 Africa Youth Championship, only to fall against Zambia in the last round of qualifiers.

Mtawali also served as Flames assistant coach in 2013 when Eddington Ng’onamo was in charge.

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