THE Zambia Football Coaches Association (ZAFCA) has expressed shock over Red Arrows’ decision to sideline head coach, George Lwandamina.
ZAFCA vice-president, Lewis Shambulo said the association was shocked and disappointed that Lwandamina had been sidelined barely two months after the Zambia Under-20 coach won the club the Barclays Cup.
“It is very shocking that Lwandamina is being sidelined based on the team’s performance in the last three years. For me, he has been exceptional and winning a cup for a team that has gone six years without minting any silverware is a commendable job,” he said.
Lwandamina was on Friday put on ‘administrative leave’ by the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) sponsored side.
In a statement, signed by Arrows’ public relations and media officer, Misheck Kalembwe, Lwandamina was dropped after the club analysed the team’s performance over the last three years.
Arrows club chairperson, Katazya Banda also said Lwandamina and his assistant John Musonda have been put on ‘administrative leave’ and that former players Charles Kafula and Songwe Chalwe will be in charge of the team.
But Shambulo said in an interview yesterday that Lwandamina had produced and nurtured young players who competed favourably in the league since his move to Arrows in mid 2010 when the team was faced with relegation.
He said it was unfortunate that Lwandamina had become the first coach to be fired in 2014.
And Shambulo urged Lwandamina not to despair but set his eyes on future prospects especially with the Africa Youth Championships qualifiers that will kick off soon.
Shambulo said Lwandamina was a highly experienced coach with the skills that most clubs were looking for.
“If he has been fired on administrative grounds, then that is beyond us but we will not accept the reason that his technical performance has been below par in the last three years,” he said.
Shambulo said clubs needed to give their coaches the benchmarks that needed to be met which should also be the basis of the contractual agreements.
He was, however, hopeful that the trend of firing coaches unceremoniously that characterised the 2013 soccer season, would not be repeated this season.
Meanwhile, Red Arrows have set out a mission to grow their support base in an effort to draw crowds to Nkoloma Stadium, barely three days after the MTN-FAZ Premier Division League side fired coach George Lwandamina in unclear circumstances.
The Arrows executive invited fans to a ‘Supporters Consultative Meeting’ that was held at the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) headquarters in Lusaka where the club’s vision to woo more supporters was explained.
But the meeting surprisingly, did not have Lwandamina on its agenda with Arrows chairperson, Katavya Banda telling the gathering that there was need to find a way of increasing the club’s fan base and also understanding the difficulties faced by the amateur club.