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To renew or not to?

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By Ronald Mpaso:

With two months to go before the expiry of Malawi national football team Coach Ronny van Geneugden’s (RVG) contract, Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has denied holding talks on the matter.

RVG was hired in April 2017 on a two-year contract which is set to expire on March 31, with his last official game in charge expected to be a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) dead rubber qualifier against Morocco at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on March 23.

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The coach has not impressed in his job as he has failed to qualify the Flames for this year’s Afcon as spelt out by Fam President Walter Nyamilandu during the unveiling ceremony.

RVG also failed to lead Malawi out of the group stages in 2017 and 2018 Cosafa competitions.

His performance record stands at two wins, seven draws and 10 losses. This forced a group of Flames supporters to demand his resignation.

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But when asked about the impending expiry of his contract yesterday, RVG said he was in talks with some officials on the way forward.

“We are talking and we are in talking terms. We will agree on one thing and you will know it in a matter of weeks. There will be a press briefing. That is all I can say for now. There is an agreement that no one should talk about this matter in the media,” RVG said.

The coach also declined to comment on his time with the Flames and his plans. He was also non-committal on whether he believes he deserves a contract renewal.

Fam vice president James Mwenda, who also heads the association’s Technical Sub-committee, said there will be a meeting aimed at assessing the Belgian’s performance in his two-year tenure.

Mwenda said there have not been any talks on RVG’s future as all stakeholders are busy with preparations for the Morocco match.

“We will meet as a Technical Sub-committee to assess the coach’s performance. We will carefully analyse his performance in the two years he has been with the Flames and make recommendations to the Executive Committee, which will make the final decision,” Mwenda said.

The Flames have generally failed to inspire confidence in their results despite RVG and Nyamilandu insisting that the team is making strides.

Some stakeholders in the game have also questioned the powers that Fam conferred on the Belgian, who has been picking his own assistants and selecting coaching panels for junior national teams.

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