Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is seeking guidance from Malawi National Council of Sports on the recruitment of the next Flames coach.
At least 50 coaches have applied for the Flames coaching job, but in an interview yesterday, FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the association has set aside the applications as they want to first assess the interim coach Patrick Mabedi.
He said: “From the day [Mario] Marinica left, we have been receiving applications from coaches interested in the Flames coaching job, although we have not yet advertised. It’s not surprising because in football that is the trend. Coaches will sell themselves once they find out that there is a vacancy.
“But we are not looking at these applications now. We do not want a repeat of what was happening in the past. We do not want to do that when we already have an interim coach who has a pending assignment against Guinea. That would put him under pressure.”
Mabedi, who was hired as caretaker coach after FAM terminated expatriate Marinica’s contract, will be wrapping up his contract with the Flames’ last 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Group D qualifier against Guinea at Bingu National Stadium on September 9.
Has an upper hand: Mabedi
So far, Mabedi is unbeaten in open play since taking over from Marinica as interim coach in June.
In his first assignment he drew one-all against Mozambique in an international friendly before a goalless draw against Ethiopia in Group D 2023 Afcon qualifier.
The former national football team captain then took a predominantly local players Flames squad to the Cosafa Cup with squad where he led them to the semi-finals for the first time in 20 years.
On the road to the semi-finals, Malawi won all their group matches, beating Zambia 1-0, Seychelles 2-0 and Comoros 2-0, to become the only side to finish the group stage unbeaten with three clean sheets.
The Flames then drew one-all against Lesotho in the semi-finals and went on to lose 3-0 on post-match penalties.
They also drew 0-0 with South Africa in the third-place play-off and lost again 5-3 on post-match penalties to finish fourth.
However, Gunda said the technical subcommittee will only make a recommendation on the coach to the executive committee after the Guinea match.
He said: “Right now we are just waiting for the coach’s last assignment against Guinea. After that, we will evaluate him and a decision will be made whether to give him a permanent job.
“Depending on the outcome, if it is necessary, we will then look at the other coaches that have already applied of the job and also assess them.”
FAM was in the past faulted for the manner it employed the last expatriate coach.
The Romanian tactician was initially employed as technical director, but ended up taking over from the then Flames coach Meck Mwase, who was redeployed to the Under-23 national team, but refused to take up the post and instead sued FAM for unfair dismissal.
Gunda said they sought government’s guidance on the matter considering that Mabedi already has a contract with Ministry of Youth and Sports as Under-20 national team coach.
He said: “We wrote government to explain to them our position on the matter and also to seek their guidance.
“Mind you, Mabedi has a contract with government and whatever decision will be made government has to be involved.
“If he is given a permanent position, obviously his contract with government will have to be upgraded, that is why we need their guidance in terms of human resource management side.”
Malawi National Council of Sports spokesperson Edgar Ntulumbwa confirmed having received the letter from FAM on the coach’s hiring process.
He said: “We received the letter and it was forwarded to the Ministry of Youth and Sports.”
Meanwhile, soccer analyst George Chiusiwa has said FAM should let Mabedi continue with the Flames rebuilding project which he has started.
He said: “It appears we have a real and genuine national football team project. The ‘we are building a new team’ buzz by FAM would be acceptable now.
“And if the builder in Patrick Mabedi is faultless, then let the project flourish under his tutelage. Otherwise, bringing another football coach like that Romanian-born British time waster will be a mockery to the domestic game.”
On his part, Mabedi yesterday refused to comment as he was busy with training the Flames in preparation for the Guinea match.
He said: “I am a professional. I have a job to do. I can only comment on that after my last assignment.”