Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has named Romanian Marian Mario Marinica as Flames permanent coach, replacing Meck Mwase, who has been fired.
The decision was made during Fam Executive Committee’s meeting held at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi on Saturday.
A statement from Fam indicates that Marinica has ceased to serve as Technical Director (TD) and will soon sign a new contract as Flames coach and has been given freedom to choose his backroom staff.
Following the development, Benjamin Kumwenda has been promoted to the position of TD from Technical Development Officer.
“This was arrived at after the committee was impressed with the performance of the national team at Afcon finals in Cameroon under Marinica as caretaker head of the technical panel and resolved to give him full mandate,” the statement reads.
Before the Afcon finals, Marinica was named interim coach whereas Mwase was demoted to the position of assistant coach.
“Mwase has been relieved of duties and Fam will engage on redeploying the former Flames captain for the rest of his contract which expires in April next year,” the statement reads.
The decision to hire Marinica as full time Flames coach has also affected Mwase’s trusted lieutenants Lovemore Fazili and Bob Mpinganjira.
Marinica brought Britons Clwyd Jones as psychologist whereas Ged Searson was data analyst specifically for the Afcon finals.
But the two Britons returned to their bases after the Afcon finals in Cameroon.
Marinica was in charge of the Flames’ two matches during the Afcon finals starting with the 0-0 draw against Senegal before the 2-1 loss to Morocco in the round of 16.
In an interview Sunday, Marinica was guarded.
“Let us take one step at a time. It is similar when I was trusted to guide the Flames to the Afcon finals,” the Romanian said.
When contacted Sunday, Mwase refused to comment on the matter saying he was yet to get official communication from Fam.
Mwase, in Marinica’s absence, led the Flames to the 2-1 victory over Zimbabwe and a 1-0 loss to Guinea in the group stages.
But the former TN Stars coach made history by becoming the third local coach to help the Flames qualify for Afcon finals after late Henry Moyo in Ivory Coast (1984) and Kinnah Phiri in Angola, 2010.
During the meeting, Fam also agreed to engage government to fast-track renewal of contracts for Malawi Under 20 national football team coach Patrick Mabedi and his Under 17 counterpart De Klerk Msakakuona having expired in October last year.
Meanwhile, there are more questions than answers on the appointment of Kumwenda as Fam was looking for a holder of Pro-Licence and degree in sports management for the post.
The requirement automatically ruled out local coaches from the position.
The Flames are expected to take part in the 2023 Afcon qualifiers in June.