With less than 10 games for some teams to finish the TNM Super League season, pressure is mounting on some clubs on the prospects of being title contenders and even finishing in the top eight.
One of the clubs is Blue Eagles which has sent its head coach, Gerald Phiri senior on forced leave.
Phiri was roped into the police side this season to replace Deklerk Msakakuona who is now Malawi Under-17 coach, and was given the target of winning the league.
However, things have not worked according to his wish, such that at some point, he was given five games to win or be sacked, he managed to do so and Eagles chairperson, Alexander Ngwala said they were impressed with Phiri's progress.
With the team currently on position 12 with 27 points from 23 games, the pressure has resurfaced for Phiri, and Ngwala has confirmed sending him on forced leave until the committee reviews his performance and provides the way forward.
"Kindly be informed that coach Gerald Phiri has been put on indefinite holiday pending review of his performance. This has been necessitated by dwindling performance of the Club. Meanwhile, Assistant Superintendent Wilson Chidati will be the interim Coach and he will be assisted by Coach Mbulaje of Blue Eagles FC Reserve," Ngwala said.
It seems the performance in Karonga over the weekend has sparked all the action as the Area 30 team only managed to get only a point from the possible six.
They lost to Chitipa United 1-0 in the first match, before the goalless draw against Karonga United.
Phiri has only managed six wins, nine draws and eight loses, while scoring 24 goals and conceding 22 from the 23 games played.
The former Tigers FC coach bid farewell to Blue Eagles family through their WhatsApp forum.
"Hello guys, I’ve been told to go for a holiday due to current team performance under my leadership....therefore, I’m wishing you guys all the best.Thanks you guys and God bless you all," he wrote.
The pressure comes in because his predecessor managed to win the FISD Challenge and Airtel Top Eight Cups in the previous season, yet it seems this season they may even finish outside the top eight bracket and eventually miss the Airtel Cup.
Next on their menu is Dedza Young soccer in the round of 16 of FDH Bank Cup over the weekend.
Phiri has coached teams like Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers, Blackpool, and others, including the national team.