Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture football director Kinnah Phiri has claimed that government is underutilising him as he has not been given any tangible assignment nearly a year after taking up the job.
The former national team coach and legendary forward was recruited mid last year alongside netball icon Mary Waya who is now director of netball in the ministry.
While Waya has set the ball rolling byspearheading the formulation of umpires and coaches training modules and conducting trainings, Phiri in an interview told a different story.
“I am like a ghost worker. I report to work and just sit in the office doing nothing. I feel hugely underultilised,” Phiri, who also coached clubs in South Africa and Swaziland, said.
He pointed out that when he took up the offer, he was assured that he would be the focal point of football development, but he lamented that his expectations have been dashed.
“In fact, I was told that my mission would be to revamp initiatives that helped football to be successful in the 1970s and 80s. But when I started working, I was shocked that I am rarely being assigned,” he said.
Phiri revealed that immediately after joining the civil service, he submitted to the ministry a project proposal that was aimed at improving football from the grassroots level.
He said the concept paper focused on grassroots football development through promotion of school football and playing an advisory role in the junior and senior national teams.
“The ministry approved the proposal, but I haven’t been given transportation and the necessary support to implement it. It makes me wonder: was I appointed just to be frozen instead of contributing to football development?” he said.
The former Bullets gaffer, whose one-year renewable contract expires this year, pointed out that he would only renew the contract if government assures him of support.
“I want to be out there working with coaches and players and not confined in the office. My nature of work is to spend 25 percent of my time in the office and the rest in the field,” he said.
On her part, Waya said her programmes are going on smoothly with full government backing.
“We have developed manuals for umpires and coaches’ courses. My assessment showed that we have a lot of good players, but what we are lacking is improving the technical aspect of it. This is why, for a start, we are drilling the technical personnel,” she said.
The ministry’s spokesperson Simon Mbvundula said he could not immediately comment, stating that the issue is complicated as it involves more stakeholders apart from the ministry.
“I am consulting and once I am done, I will come back to you,” he said.
He had not responded at press time.