Rumba Munthali: “I’m here to help players get better”

NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC interim manager Rumba Munthali isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel, but he is making changes to get the Coyotes confident and in-form, helping to kickstart their evolution to what General Manager Mike Jacobs called “Nashville 2.0”.

“I like to think that I’m pretty proactive, and my teams are a little bit proactive in how they’ll be played,” he told local media at Nashville’s training center on Thursday morning. “I think we’re trying to put players in the best position to succeed, so allowing them to use their skill sets to problem solve and to be as assertive as they possibly can.”

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It’s no secret that Nashville have been in a rut. Six wins from their last 29 matches led to Gary Smith’s firing last Thursday, a sweeping change to a club that had been build on stability and continuity. And while Munthali’s interim tag leaves an air of uncertainty hanging over the immediate procedings, his goals for himself are clear.

“I think my goal has changed a little bit, but the focus is getting players to be the best version of themselves, getting players to get better,” he said. “So I think there’s a few tweaks that come from me and the rest of the guys who are on the coaching staff that we feel can help propel us into an even more positive position.”

“What I would hope is you get a team that represents what the club is, right? Hardworking, dedicated, forward thinking and positive. So I hope that’s a team that we put out onto the field, a team that’s going to compete from start to finish and put all they can into the game. And so that is what I would expect, regardless of whatever the score is, regardless of who the opponent is. I think that that is what you expect from players from Nashville to be hard-working and also hopefully be defensively sound, right?I think those are the cornerstones of who we are as a club.”

As Nashville prepare to take on CF Montréal, Munthali has had a full week to work with the team and begin instilling his ideas. Less so than what Montréal do, he’s concerning himself with helping Nashville SC take a step forward.

“What I’m more so concerned about is how we function within the structure that we’ve set and putting our players into positions that we can succeed,” he posited. “And I think at this point of the season, I think this point as with this transition, I’m worried about making sure that we’re putting our players in the right spots to succeed offensively and defensively. So I’m more so concerned about us than concerned about everything they’re doing. Just trying to make sure that us as a club are in a good spot.”

His message to the team?

“It’s belief in each other, belief in what we’re doing, belief in the club, belief in themselves. That’s been the message, that I think that they want to do more and they can do more, and they can do more to affect each other and to affect the team and the collective.”

Some quotes have been lightly edited for clarity

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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