- Nkhwazi takes over as head coach
In a rather intriguing development, Mighty Be Forward Wanderers head coach Elia Kananji turned down advances by his former employers Big Bullets FC to consider returning to the People’s Team.
Kananji was among the five names that were thrown into fray for consideration to take over the mantle from Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan who is now national football team coach. The others were Gilbert Chirwa, Franco Ndawa, Lloyd Nkhwazi, Eddingtone Ng’onamo and Gerald Phiri.
However, the club’s executive committee meeting held on Thursday evening in Blantyre settled for Nkhwazi who was the acting head coach following Ramadhan’s departure.
A well-placed source said when the executive committee sought the views of stakeholders, the main supporters committee and players recommended that Kananji should be enticed to return.
Kananji yesterday confirmed having been contacted by Bullets, but said he referred them to his manager Charles Twalibu.
“They [Bullets] indeed contacted me through phone asking me if I could meet them, but I referred them to my manager.
“Initially, I thought it was something to do with outstanding dues they owe me [amounting to K575 000], but I later on learnt from my manager that they wanted me back at Bullets,” said Kananji.
The Wanderers mentor said he advised his manager to tell Bullets that he could not accept the offer because he has a running contract with Wanderers and that he is happy at Lali Lubani Road.
Bullets general secretary Titha Mandiza yesterday said she was not aware that some people within the executive committee approached Kananji.
“Maybe if you can tell me the name of the actual person or persons who approached him [Kananji], I will be able to follow up, otherwise I am not aware of that.
However, main supporters committee chairperson Stone Mwamadi, who is also an executive committee member, yesterday confirmed the advances on Kananji.
Said Mwamadi: “It is true that we recommended Kananji because he did well during his stint last season. It was just unfortunate. In fact, it was not only us supporters who wanted Kananji back, even the players recommended his return.
“Unfortunately, we established that he cannot return as he is tied to a contract he has with Wanderers, but nevertheless we settled for Nkhwazi to ensure continuity.”
During his stint with Bullets last season, Kananji steered the team to win a double—the TNM Super League championship and the Carlsberg Cup.
Bullets did not renew Kananji’s contract at the end of last season on the basis that he did not have the required qualifications and replaced him with Ramadhan. n