Opinion by George Chiusiwa
The exploits and success of John Maduka at Royal AM should be uniquely recognised as it was not easy to take the team to the top level it is enjoying in DStv Premiership.
This is considering that the Malawian coach had to manage the team’s technical affairs in a transitional period characterised by change of ownership and relocation of the club.
It is quite enviable a feat but this comes with a lot of positive and impeccable attributes that Maduka has.
The former Flames captain is a natural football leader; he is very patient and calm and always eager to learn.
This is a football personality with a football mind that has a positive orientation towards the sport.
His habits and personal traits as a footballer during his playing days and as a coach today say it all.
He also has good player management skills looking at how he has shaped some players he has managed.
He is also strategic technically.
Such skills, techniques and personal orientations are rare in most coaches.
More years he spent as a team manager at Bloemfontein Celtic before being elevated to the position of coach at the Free State-based side.
That provided wealth of experience to him in his coaching career.
And that he was not rushed into fully fledged football coaching meant that he learned the ropes of the trade comprehensively.
Another important factor to his success is the support that he gets from the owner of the club.
There have been massive investments at the club by the owner, Shauwn Mkhize (MamMkhize), who has done a lot to ensure that the team compete favourably in the Premiership.
She is a phenomenal woman in South African football and hugely passionate about the beautiful game.
No wonder, Royal AM is posing a serious threat to established football powerhouses in the Premiership this season.
Such supports are rare in Malawi.
While it is the dream of every gaffer to coach his native national team, Maduka should not consider coming back to Malawi for the Flames coaching job at least in the immediate time.
In Malawi, local coaches are not well supported when engaged by Football Association of Malawi (Fam); relatively, foreign coaches get optimum supports from the association.
And coaching local football clubs should not even be an option for now for Maduka.
Since he is only thriving and growing in the field of coaching, Maduka should gain more experience and exposure as a coach before thinking about coaching t h e Flames or a M a l awi a n club.
He should take his time although his age and character make him a matured, trusted and reliable person for national football team coaching.
And at a personal level, the consideration should also be the monetary gains and the success in the game through winning games and trophies.
Royal AM, presently, and other clubs in South Africa thus provide such an environment and opportunity for the former Silver Strikers player to soar further in football coaching.
He stands to win more individual successes as a coach in the Rainbow Nation than in Malawi.
Maduka should learn from other Malawian coaches who left their jobs in foreign land to come back home to take up coaching positions at either Fam or local clubs.
None of them is actively and genuinely involved or fully recognised on the local scene currently.
We do not respect or value our own coaches in Malawi.
Instead of nurturing and developing them through adequate on-the-job support, we treat them with disdain and often overlook them while we highly value expatriates on whom we splash millions of kwacha.
And most of the expatriates have failed miserably relative to local coaches.
It is important to state that the exploits by Maduka in South Africa should provide several lessons to Malawian coaches working domestically.
Potentially, we have good coaches in the country.
There are a considerable number of coaches who are highly qualified but not well exposed in the game.
The main problem is that many of them are too ambitious to the extent that they always want to start it big in their career.
They are not patient.
Our coaches are driven by immediate gratifications of either money or fame.
They should let success on the pitch speak for them; money and fame will come along easily.
Many highly qualified coaches do not have the desire to coach lower league teams or developmental teams as they all aspire to coach in the elite league.
And when they fail at a Super League club, that is the end of their ambitious journey.
There are a good number of coaches that have gone through this unfortunate path.
Poor financing, interference in their technical work at the local clubs, poor administration and management of the football entities and laughable remuneration are other factors that largely conspire to make the job of local coaches in the country difficult and undesirable.
Coaches should also freshen up their technical knowledge after acquiring the qualification papers.
Refreshing and reorientation are critical consideration in football coaching or football refereeing.
However, it is sad that many of these football tacticians spent years without full-time or meaningful coaching after qualification and they complain of lacking employment yet there are several youth teams and developmental sides in districts and regions that are in need of well-qualified coaches.
There is much that Malawi can learn from football personalities who are shining or had a great time working in foreign lands.
The success of Maduka and others who did fairly well in the game outside Malawi can help shape the local game by giving us a unique dimension and perspective on how we should be manning our football in the modern times.
Football is dynamic and surely the game’s knowledge by those who travelled is significant to the Malawi game.
The country’s football legends remain a huge treasure in efforts aimed at elevating the sport and moving forward for more success at the regional and international level.