Malawian Young Chimodzi has become the first coaching casualty of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying after a matchday 1 home defeat by Zimbabwe.
The national football association confirmed on Monday that Chimodzi and assistant Jack Chamangwana had been sent on leave until their contracts expire next month.
Chimodzi and Chamangwana are former national team stars as is Ernest Mtawali, who has been put in temporary charge of the 'Flames'.
National football body FAM apologised to Malawians for the 2-1 weekend loss at Kamuzu Stadium in commercial capital Blantyre.
"We apologise to the nation for the painful loss," the association said. "FAM would like to express their disappointment with the result.
"FAM have lost confidence in the coaches due to poor performances with only six wins in 23 matches."
The association hopes to name a permanent coach by August 1 after considering local and foreign applicants.
Malawi are in Group L and the other match in that mini-league also produced a shock with Swaziland winning 2-1 away to 2015 Cup of Nations quarter-finalists Guinea.
Swaziland host Malawi in early September in matchday 2 and another loss for the 'Flames' would almost certainly extinguish any chance of reaching the 2017 tournament in Gabon.
Only group winners are guaranteed finals places, with just the best two runners-up from the 12 four-team groups accompanying them.
While Chimodzi and Chamangwana ponder alternative employment, several other Cup of Nations coaches are feeling the heat.
Tanzania crashed 3-0 away to Egypt -- their fifth consecutive defeat under experienced Dutch boss Mart Nooij.
The Taifa Stars were beaten by Swaziland, Madagascar and Lesotho at the Cosafa Cup southern Africa championship in South Africa last month.
And they suffered an away defeat by Rwanda in a warm-up game before tackling the Pharaohs.
Nooij is the latest foreign coach who has been unable to lift out of the doldrums a team ranked 38th of 54 African football nations.
Guinea handler Luis Fernandez, one of six Frenchmen working as national coaches in Africa, has started disastrously as successor to compatriot Michel Dussuyer.
A friendly loss to minnows Chad in Paris preceded the biggest shock of the 25 matchday 1 qualifiers -- a home defeat by bottom seeds Swaziland.
New Zambia caretaker George Lwandamina did his prospects of securing the post permanently no good as the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) were held 0-0 by lowly Guinea-Bissau in Ndola.
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