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Gerald Phiri ready

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Newly-hired Malawi National Football Team’s caretaker Coach, Gerald Phiri Snr, has said he is humbled and ready to take charge of the Flames for the friendly game against China Select on January 28.

“I know it is not an easy task but I am ready for the job. I am humbled and really looking forward to give the fans a good game,” the Azam Tigers Coach said in reaction to his appointment.

Phiri was appointed specifically for the game, which will be part of activities marking the official opening of the Chinese Government-funded Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

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Blue Eagles Coach, Derklerk Msakakuona, will be Phiri’s assistant whereas Premier Bet Wizards Technical Director and owner, Peter Mponda and Phillip Nyasulu were appointed Team Manager and Goalkeepers’ Trainer, respectively.

However, Phiri’s appointment has raised questions after a disappointing campaign with the Malawi Under-20 National Football Team, which failed to win, let alone score in three games at the Cosafa Youth Championship held in South Africa last month.

“Let us not focus much on the performance of the Under-20 because there were several factors that contributed to the team’s poor showing. We should look at the future and I believe, as a nation, we learnt a lot of things during the tournament,” he said.

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Phiri, will through

 

Football Association of Malawi (Fam), release the Flames’ squad this week. The team is expected to regroup on January 15.

Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, yesterday justified the appointment of Phiri, saying he was one of the promising local up-and-coming coaches.

He said the decision to hire Phiri and Msakakuona was reached because the two have running two-year contracts with the association as coaches for the Under-20 and Under-17 national football teams, respectively.

“There is always a chance for a situation. Let us not generalise the problem. The two coaches have running contracts as junior teams’ coaches and in a situation of this nature, it will only be prudent for us, as a nation, to look at what we have on the ground,” Gunda explained.

“We are looking at a long-term solution and it was difficult for us to hire a new person for two weeks only.”

The association is expected to appoint a full-time coach soon. The position fell vacant after Flames’ legend Ernest Mtawali was released at the end of his one-year term on July 31 2016.

Over 60 coaches have since reportedly applied for the Flames’ job.

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