Football Association calls ceasefire on fans criticism and abuse of coach Kinnah Phiri
Football Association of Malawi has appealed to the soccer fraternity not to over-critisise Flames coach Kinnah Phiri following Malawi’s failure to qualify for 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kinnah was subjected to verbal abuse by some fans who turned on him as the reality and pain of defeat became inevitable on Saturday, after the Flames went down to Ghana by 3-0 on aggregate.
Fans plunged into mourning after the Flames crashed, for the umpteenth time, at the final hurdle.
They lost the second game 1-0 at Civo Stadium sparking calls for Kinnah’s removal as some chanted: “Achoke! Achoke! (he should be fired).
But Kinnah has been backed by his masters who have called on the fans to reflect on the issue soberly.
FAM second vice-president Pikawo Ngalamila said on Monday that while they understood the pain endured by the fans following the loss, it is important to calm down and reflect on the bigger picture.
“As an association, we understand how painful it was because there was an awful lot of expectation that the Flames would give out something extra and upset the tables. But this is not the right time to start pointing fingers. Rather we need to reflect on the bigger picture and map the way forward.
“It is important that we remain calm. Let us not act out of emotions,” said Ngalamila.
He could not be drawn to comment on whether FAM or government will review the coaching panel, saying the executive committee will meet on October 27 to discuss the Flames exit and map the way forward.
He said the association is getting feedback from stakeholders on the team’s exit.
However, there were mixed reactions following the loss with a section of the soccer fraternity suggesting that the coach should still see out his contract while others feel he has run out of ideas.
Lilongwe-based fan Terry Pangani said: “Kinnah is not hopeless but the truth is that he has reached a point whereby he has run out of ideas and perhaps other than put his reputation on the line, he should seriously consider stepping down. He has done his part.
“Or else FAM and government should consider sending the coaching panel for advanced courses to learn modern tactics and techniques.”
But another Lilongwe-based fan Kim Kamawu was of a different opinion.
“I think there is no reason to warrant the coach’s removal. Of course, a coach is judged by results and we lost but we should also take into consideration other factors such as the strength of the opponents, players motivation and our level of preparations.
“He fielded the best team at his disposal and you cannot blame him. However, what I noticed was that we were only attacking using the left flank, where Joseph Kamwendo was. Gabadinho [Mhango] was also not being ably supported although striker Esau Kanyenda tried his best and the coaches should have seen that. So, we need to look at the bigger picture rather than act emotionally,” said Kamau.
However, Kinnah made his position plain after the game that he would not quit.
“They [supporters] have the right to say whatever they want. The only good thing is that they do not have a say on my future. I report to my employers, in this case, FAM and government and I am answerable to them,” said Kinnah.
He also insisted that he is building a team for the future.