By Peter Kanjere:
South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) side, Black Leopards, has hired former Malawi national football team assistant coach and captain Patrick Mabedi as deputy coach on a three-year contract.
Mabedi, who applied for the Flames job which has been offered to Meke Mwase, on Wednesday said he was excited to return to action, months after leaving Kaizer Chiefs, where he worked in a similar capacity for two years.
“I am happy and look forward to achieving great things with Leopards. We want to do better in the league, win silverware and play good football,” he said.
“I thank all Malawians for always supporting me and I wish our national team all the best. Congratulations to Meke for being appointed national [team] coach. Let all Malawians support him.”
Leopards Chairperson, David Thidiela, has explained the rationale behind the appointment of Mabedi, who will be working under new French mentor Lionel Soccoi, alongside newly appointed Team Manager Mlungisi Ngubane. Soccoi has replaced Englishman Dylan Kerr.
“Patrick Mabedi has played and captained Malawi national team and won trophies with Kaizer Chiefs as a captain. He brings a wealth of experience to the team. The coach [Soccoi] has won championships in Cameroon, Gabon and Ivory Coast,” Thidiela told Kick-Off magazine website.
“We are keeping Morgan Shivambu as a second assistant coach. He understands the culture of the club. We are also keeping Sam Banda [a Zambian] as our goalkeeper coach.”
Mabedi served as Flames assistant coach in two spells under caretaker coaches Eddingtone Ng’onamo and Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan.
In South Africa, he also played and worked as interim coach for Moroka Swallows before Cape Town All Stars hired him as head coach.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets defence pillar holds Uefa and Caf A coaching licences.
He unites with compatriot midfielder Robert Ng’ambi at Leopards, until a few years ago home to Malawian footballers such as Dave Banda, Grant Lungu, Fischer Kondowe, Allan Kamanga, Harry Nyirenda and Peter Mponda.