BLANTYRE ( Daniel Nhakaniso)- Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar has emerged as a surprise candidate to take over as Malawi coach following the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) executive committee’s recent resolution to hire an expatriate coach for the vacant national team post.
The Flames coaching post, which fell vacant after the expiry of Ernest Mtawali’s one-year contract on July 31, has reportedly attracted 65 applications, including Grobbelaar, who is among the five foreigners who have applied for the post.
And following FAM’s approval of the decision to hire an expatriate coach after a proposal from its technical sub-committee which met two weeks ago, Grobbelaar has emerged as one of the front-runners for the job.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu was quoted in the Malawian media last week saying his association was aiming to hire a foreign coach by January next year.
“We want to have a coach by early next year because we will be taking part in the Championship of African Nations [Chan], which will kick off in April. It was, therefore, resolved that four or five expatriate coaches should be short-listed to attend interviews,” Nyamilandu said.
Grobbelaar, who is now based in Canada, has been the goalkeepers’ coach for Ottawa Fury FC in the North American Soccer League since 2014.
He has not coached in international football since his last role with the Warriors at the turn of the millennium before talks for a permanent job were stalled by a stalemate in contract negotiations.
Capped 33 times as Zimbabwe goalkeeper in a two-spell Warriors career between 1980 to 1985 and 1992 to 2000, Grobbelaar has worked four times as Warriors player-coach.
He told Standardsport in an interview yesterday that he was willing to take up the Malawi job with the long goal of helping the Flames qualify for the 2019 and 2021 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations as well as the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
“I would be willing to go there to present my vision. Obviously, I did some research before submitting my application and was really impressed with the way they are serious about their football. I see they have completed building a new stadium in Lilongwe which is commendable,” Grobbelaar said.
“If I get a chance, it will have to be structured for a long-term goal, for example qualification for the 2022 World Cup as well as the 2019 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments,” he said.
Grobbelaar, who celebrated his 59th birthday on October 9, has recently expressed his desire to help in reviving the local game after revealing his intentions of making a comeback into local football.
“If Zifa approaches me, I will not decline to come as a coach,” Grobbelaar told Standardsport in an interview last year.
“They have to convince me so that I can commit myself to build the team for the 2019 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, as well as the 2022 World Cup. The contract should be drawn by lawyers and payments coming every month. So if they want me, I will not say ‘no’, but all must be stable and financially secure for that vision,” he said then.