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No, thank you!

Elia Kananji turns down new role as Oscar Kaunda returns

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Suspended Civil Service United Assistant Coach Elia Kananji has declined the club’s offer for him to take charge of its reserve side.

Kananji was suspended from his position alongside head coach Franco Ndawa towards the end of the just-ended season but, in a twist of events, Ndawa was recalled two days later.

Civil management met recently and made the decision to recall Kananji and offer him the reserve team coaching role.

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Kananji confirmed that he was summoned to a meeting where he was briefed about his new role.

“I will only accept the new role on condition that I will be entitled to senior team game bonuses. This means that if the senior team wins, I should also be receiving game bonuses. Secondly, I want the club to explain reasons behind my suspension,” he said.

Kananji has a running contract with the club until 2023 and the club’s proposal is that he should guide Civil Reserve in the Under-20 First Capital Bank Cup.

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His demotion follows the return of former coach Oscar Kaunda, who will take up the assistant coach’s role after completing a one-year Super League of Malawi ban.

Civil General Secretary Ronald Chiwaula said Kananji remains a Civil employee.

“He is still part of our technical panel. We all know that he is one of the best coaches in Malawi and we engaged him on the matter,” Chiwaula said.

Kaunda has already started drilling Civil as Ndawa’s assistant in preparation for the Airtel Top 8 Cup but Chiwaula refused to comment.

National Football Coaches Association (NFCA) Chairperson Aubrey Nankhuni said they were following events at Civil with keen interest.

“We know that some clubs are abusing some of our members. We are monitoring the situation closely. We are doing all we can to make sure that abuse of coaches remains a thing of the past,” Nankhuni said.

Kananji was appointed Ndawa’s assistant in 2019 as a replacement for Kaunda, who had crossed over to Mighty Wanderers.

Kananji, who has a Caf C coaching licence, is renowned for his player management skills.

He came into the limelight when he guided Blantyre United to a top three finish in the TNM Super League.

To date, he is also the only coach to have won the defunct Carlsberg Cup thrice in a row with two Blantyre giants Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets.

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