BY MACDONALD THOM:
Members of Parliament (MPs) Thursday sought answers from Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila, on why the Flames Coach, Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) is not being fired despite the team’s poor performance.
However, RVG is on Football Association of Malawi’s payroll courtesy of funding from world football governing body, Fifa.
Mchinji North East MP, Alex Chitete, started the whole issue when he asked Kasaila as to why the ministry, through the Malawi National Council of Sports, is maintaining RVG despite what he described as “humiliating, poor and regrettable performance” of the team.
“[And] the way this coach was engaged is regrettable. We want him fired,” Chitete said.
Kasaila, however, said despite the team’s poor performance, there was progress since RVG was engaged.
“The coach is on a two-year contract. He has just concluded one year. He has replaced old players [with young ones]. He has changed philosophy of football to short-passes,” Kasaila said.
He also said measures are being taken to ensure that the development continues.
“There are complaints that the team is not scoring goals. There have been meetings with him on how the team can improve, as well as maintaining a lead. We will assess him at the end of the contract,” Kasaila said.
But Dowa East MP, Richard Chimwendo Banda, wondered why expatriate coaches get more time than locals.
“We had Ernest Mtawali who was fired after nine months only and we hear that he is fighting for his benefits in court. But an expatriate coach is given more support,” he said.
He added that expatriate coaches receive higher salaries than locals.
But Kasaila said disparities in salaries may be because of how the coaches bargained.
“Salaries are bargained for. Let them [local coaches] put their mark higher. It is not possible to expect us to give the same salary to all coaches [we engage],” he said.
He also stated that termination of RVG’s contract may be costly.
“Termination of contracts leads to loss of [the] government’s money. If we terminate it, we could pay as much as we could in two years,” Kasaila said.