‘Flames improved performance due to technical panel changes’

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has attributed the Flames’ improved performance at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon to changes that were made in the technical panel.

The Flames qualified for the knockout stage of the continental showpiece for the first time, but were booted out by Morocco’s Atlas Lions in the round of 16.

FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said on Friday that the roping in of technical director Mario Marinica to head the coaching panel as well as the  appointment of Britons Ged Searson as a data analyst and Clywd Jones as a sports psychologist, helped to change the team’s fortunes.

He said: “The secret was the changes that were made in the technical panel.

“The team is now able to play with a purpose and proper system. We are now compact and organised unlike in the past when we were playing without a system or purpose like a school team.

“We now have a coach who has instilled a new philosophy which players have adapted to quickly. Then we have a data analyst who helps in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of opponents as well as a psychologist, who prepares the team psychologically.”

In particular, Nyamilandu singled out Marinica whom he described as an asset.

The FAM president said the association’s executive committee will now  sit down to map the way forward ahead of upcoming tournaments such as the Championship of African Nations (Chan) and the 2023 Afcon qualifiers.

But FAM technical subcommittee chairperson Tiya Somba Banda said they will recommend to FAM executive committee that Marinica should continue to be in charge of the team.

“We saw Malawi’s improved performance at Afcon. Just a few months in charge and we’ll make that clear in our report to the executive committee,” he said.

Initially, FAM  announced that the Romanian tactician would only be in charge of the Flames at the Afcon finals on an interim basis following the team’s poor showing in 2022 World Cup qualifiers.


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