FORMER Warriors coach, Kalisto Pasuwa has been beaten to the post of Malawi National soccer team coach after the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) appointed Belgian Ronny Van Geneugden as the new coach on a two-year deal.
By Tafadzwa Ndiraire
The 48-year-old will be assisted by Gerald Phiri, who was appointed last month on an interim basis. The Belgian has however never worked in Africa before.
Pasuwa was one of the over 65 coaches that had applied for the Malawi job with the former Warriors and Dynamos coach tipped for the hot seat.
Other Zimbabwean coaches who include former Warriors coach, Ian Gorowa and former Warriors goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar had also applied for the job.
They were however beaten to the post by the Belgian.
Van Geneugden told journalists after his appointment that his target was to help the team rise on the Fifa rankings.
“My target is to help the team rise on the Fifa rankings but the most important thing is that there is a good style of play,” the Belgian said.
“I think that when you are a football coach you must live with pressure because everybody wants to win and that is also the same with me.”
His first task will be later in April against Madagascar in the African Nations Championship, the tournament for locally-based players.
Malawi have been looking for a permanent coach since July last year. The Football Association of Malawi (Fam) cut ties with Ernest Mtawali a month before the end of his contract.
“We are on a revival campaign to get back to winning ways and you know we are participating in the Africa Cup of Nations and CHAN competitions in the next year, so we want our performance to be better,” Fam president Walter Nyamilandu said.
“We are meeting the African champions Cameroon, we are meeting Morocco who are coached by the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner Herve Renard.
“For us to compete against the best in the world we need to have the right man behind the national team and that is why we said let us look for an expatriate coach.”
The Fam president added that Malawi’s results in the past two years have not been good and he believes Van Geneugden will turn things around.
“To turn around things for Malawi we needed new mentality and a new attitude and that is what we believe the Belgian will help us achieve,” he explained.
Van Geneugden’s highlight of his career was helping Heverlee Leuven to promotion into the topflight of Belgian football league in 2010.
In a change from the past, Fam will cover Van Geneugden’s salary rather than the government, who have said they can no longer pay a foreign coach’s wages.