Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has clarified that the position of technical advisor is temporary and follows Flames interim coach Patrick Mabedi’s request.
The clarification follows fears that inclusion of a technical advisor in the Flames technical panel, when the association already has a technical director (TD), may result in possible duplication of roles.
Roped in as technical
Last week, Mabedi unveiled his backroom staff with Aubrey Nankhuni as TD which raised questions from some quarters on whether it was necessary considering that the association has a technical director Benjamin Kumwenda.
According to Fifa handbook on technical set up of associations, a TD is adiviser to coaches and is also responsible for the strategy, development and technical development of the technical directorate.
It further says TD is designated as responsible for the preparation and implementation of technical programmes at the grassroots, juvenile, and national teams, thereby preparing football coaches and footballers for the future.
The inclusion of the technical advisor in the new Flames panel comes after the last one John Kaputa was appointed in July 2021, but was sidelined after FAM hired Mario Marinica as TD before he became Flames coach.
But in an interview, FAM competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said there is a difference in terms of roles of Nankhuni and Kumwenda.
He said: “Basically, the difference is that the technical director is for the association whereas the technical advisor is purely for the national team, like advising the coach in terms of helping him in scouting and monitoring the performance of players.
“The technical director, on the other hand, is the developmental bigger picture of the association’s programmes. He is not involved in the national team.”
But when Marinica was technical director he was also technical advisor for all the national teams’ coaches, including scouting and monitoring players and Kaputa, who was by then technical advisor following coach Meck Mwase’s request, was sidelined.
However, Zakazaka justified the move, saying the positon of technical advisor is not a permanent one.
He said: “FAM changed its policy on Flames technical panel. The head coach is given the freedom to propose his panel. Mabedi has seen it important to have someone who is there as an advisor; someone who doesn’t sit on the bench, but sits to take notes of key observations, technical and non-technical which, in most cases, are missed by the people on the bench, to be shared with head coach on a daily basis.
“The technical advisor will help to widen the experience in the technical panel. It’s the choice of the interim coach. His role is, therefore, tied to the contract of Mabedi. This is not a permanent position, it’s an assignment-based position.”
Mabedi’s 12-member backroom staff also has Deklerk Msakakuona and Eliah Kananji as his assistants, Victor Mphande as goalkeeper coach and Peter Mgangira as physical training coach.
On his part, FAM TD Kumwenda said he concentrates on junior national teams.
He said: “There is nothing on my job in relation to the senior men’s team. My role is on the junior boys and women’s national teams.
“That’s why I don’t travel with the Flames. TD is for football development and this technical advisor will be in the technical support group for the Flames.”
On his part, Nankhuni said he was ready to assist the coach in the specific areas as requested.
But football analyst Charles Nyirenda wondered how FAM, which is always complaining of lack of funds, manages to duplicate the positions.
He said: “I don’t think it is necessary to have a technical advisor for the Flames when the association already has a full time technical director. It is a waste of resources which the association claims it doesn’t have, anyway.”
Mabedi will be in charge of the Flames up to September and will lead the team in the forthcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Ethiopia next month and Guinea in September as well as the Cosafa Cup in South Africa in July.
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