John Kaputa has finally been replaced as Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Technical Director (TD) as the association has announced the appointment of Marian Mario Marinica on a three-year deal.
The highly qualified Romanian, who holds PRO FIFA Coaching License, once worked in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Seychelles, Tunisia and Tanzania and he will be in charge of all technical issues at FAM.
The 56-year-old Romanian was unveiled at Mpira Village on Wednesday afternoon by FAM President Walter Nyamilandu and Head of Technical Tiya Somba.
In his remarks, Nyamilandu said Marinica has a huge challenge to develop Malawian football in the three years that he has been offered the job.
“He is here to develop Malawi football and to correct some shortfalls that are there. As an association, we want to play football right way. We need to produce quality coaches who will take Malawian football to another level and there has always been a gap especially when playing international games so Mario is here to bridge the gap,” he said.
Nyamilandu further said his association expects excellence and professionalism from the new Technical Director.
“We don’t want shortcuts and we want to be better organized as he champions the agenda of football development,” he added.
Nyamilandu also emphasized the need for Malawi to have a football philosophy.
“I want to live behind a football philosophy that will suit our nation. We need to embrace change on our skills set. With him, I except technical issues to be the number one priority by paying more attention to grassroots football and youth football before bringing everything together for the betterment of our game.
“Mario comes into this position with lots of experience and is not new in this environment. He has worked in Africa and his profile on the continent is well documented,” said Nyamilandu.
According to the FAM boss, Marinica’s first job will be to work closely with Flames coach Meck Mwase as he is preparing his charges for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroun next year.
“His first assignment is to support Meck Mwase for Afcon preparations by assisting him in analyzing our opponents and how we have played in previous matches. He will also assist in selecting players for the national team and training sessions but most importantly, coming up with structures that will help to develop the game. As FAM, we will support him with everything and we are convinced that we have hired a very experienced person in this field,” he concluded.
And on his part, Marinica said it’s a huge challenge working for a small nation with lots of potential but he is very optimistic that within three years, he will be able to achieve what he has been employed for.
“Huge challenge to have a small nation with huge talent. My first task is build structures, scouting network and to receive help and support from all relevant stakeholders to develop the game starting with grassroot football because that’s the basis of Malawian football.
“It won’t be easy because every job has a challenge and I am ready for it because I have once worked with few Malawian players notably Robert Ng’ambi at Black Leopards and from the onset, you could tell that we have talent in Malawi and I want to help in nurturing the talent not only for the national team but as Ambassadors ready for international market,” he said.
A resolution was made by FAM’s Exco Meeting to advertise the position after the retirement of John Kaputa but only one person qualified for the post, forcing FAM to re-advertise through FIFA, CAF and Cosafa from which there was an overwhelming response.
Four people were shortlisted and had a virtual interview by five panelists in December before being successful candidate for the job.
Marinica will travel to South Africa on Friday to watch Malawi’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Cameroun before flying to Benin for the final match against Mozambique.
Romanian Mario Marinica holds a Uefa Pro Licence, the highest football coaching qualification.
He has coached at Romanian clubs Rapid București, Gloria Buzău, Sportul București , Argeş Piteşti, Rocar București, and Cimentul Fieni.
He has also coached at Azam F.C. in Tanzania, Black Leopards in South Africa, Zakho FC in Iraq, and Kaposvári Rákóczi FC in Hungary.
In England, he has worked at Crystal Palace FC and Arsenal FC’s Academies as well as Leyton Orient FC’s School of Excellence.
His playing career included spells at Rocar București, Dinamo București and Steaua București.