Scepticism over Flames coach Gerald Phiri’s hiring


THERE are mixed reactions to Gerald Phiri Senior’s appointment as Malawi National Football Team Coach. Football Association of Malawi (Fam) also appointed former Blue Eagles coach, Derklerk Msakakuona, as Phiri’s deputy.

During the duo’s unveiling ceremony in Blantyre on Wednesday, Phiri insisted that people should not judge him based on past results. Mzuni FC Coach, Alex Ngwira, said Phiri’s success will depend on how he will handle senior players.

Ngwira advised Phiri to avoid “respecting the players too much and avoid being overpowered”. “I have known Gerald Phiri for a long time. He is wise, but he has to play his cards well if he is to lead the team successfully.


The players can either make or destroy you depending on how you are handling them. So, he has to show his authority,” Ngwira explained.

Former Flames coach, Kinnah Phiri, reluctantly commented on the hiring of the MDC United legend. “If they have chosen him, then it means they have chosen the best. So let us support him. There is nothing else I can say,” the Mbeya City FC mentor said.

But Mzuzu football analyst, Julius Mithi, has faulted the former Azam Tigers coach for insisting that he should not be judged on his past results.


“I am surprised that the calibre of [Fam President] Walter Nyamilandu and his group can make such a decision. Gerald Phiri is too young to manage senior players. He should have continued with the Under-17, 20 and 23 sides before being given such role.

“This is the funniest joke in the history of Malawi football. So, whether he wants it or not, Malawians will judge him based on his past. He was in charge of Under-20 side at last year’s Cosafa [Under-20 championship]… in three games his team did not score.”

A Mzuzu fan, Alex Banda, concurred with Mithi, saying the duo cannot handle the heat of the national team. “I do not think that he can deliver.

The job is just too big for him. Look at the clubs he has coached. They have never finished anywhere near the topfive in the Super League, let alone win silverware,” he said.

Another soccer follower, Dominic Msowoya, echoed Banda’s sentiments, adding that Fam did not pick the two with a sober mind.

But Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, maintained that Phiri’s task was just to keep the national team ticking while waiting for an expatriate coach.

Phiri will be in charge of Flames’ 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers as well as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations clashes against current continental champions and hosts, Cameroon, Morocco and Comoros Islands.

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