The 2012/13 TNM Super League season will be remembered for exposing a group of young hot prospects who gave Malawi football reason to believe that, with proper nurturing, the future could be bright.
What was encouraging was that the young brigade was evenly spread across the league’s spectrum. Yes, even relegated Bvumbwe Research and Kabwafu United produced players-of-the-month winners in Ibrahim Sadiki and Dennis Mughogho, respectively.
Sadiki plays as a left-winger, but he is capable of doing the job just about everywhere on the pack. The pocket-sized boy can dribble and has wonderful ball-passing skills. Of course, it is his twists and turns that left fans out of their breath during the season.
It seems Bvumbwe will have a tough time to keep Sadiki, who is surely one for the future. He is just phenomenal, a future Joseph Kamwendo.
And the fact that Kabwafu’s Mughogho was the last player to be named player-of-the-month for the just-ended season says a lot about this talented midfielder.
In Lilongwe, one of the exciting results from Kamuzu Barracks’ Super League promotion was that they helped the nation see raw talent in defenders Dennis Kambewa and Diego Simaone. With their good physique and tackling skills, Simaone and Kambewa were a blessing to the season.
Simaone can overlap, shoot from range and weighs in his performances with goals and good crosses. He is deadly in set play. Enough was said in last week’s entry about the exploits of Gabadinho Mhango of Big Bullets, Silver Strikers captain Lucky Malata and Micium Mhone (Blue Eagles).
In Zomba, striker Boniface Kaulesi emerged at Red Lions. For an inexperienced striker playing in front of an ever-changing midfield and strike partnership, a return with 12 goals was impressive. A Flames call-up is his reward.
Oscar Nkagula also thrilled for Mafco proving, as he performed last season, that he is a natural scorer. In Kanjedza Township, Blantyre, the fortunes of Azam Tigers have understandably been falling owing to their rebuilding exercise.
But the Kau Kau managed to parade exciting talents such as midfielder Yamikani Chester. He looks every bit a future Malawi captain. He is too technical and too daring for a player of his age and physique. In goals, goalkeeper Carlington Misomali was outstanding between the sticks which enabled Blantyre United to finish third.
At the Lali Lubani Road, the theory that children of legendary footballers find their fathers’ shadow too big to shake off proved shaky.
Victor Mpinganjira did not only keep the Mpinganjira legacy alive, but also threatened to render the profile of his star father Albert Mpinganjira a faint memory.
“I love this team. I will always strive to bring the fans smiles. I have always worked hard…maybe luck is on my side. And that is why I am scoring more goals,” he said after picking his man of match award recently.
Between January and February, Victor showed such devastating form. He scored eight league goals, including three braces, in five consecutive games. He finished with nine goals, including one in a cup game.
No other player in the league managed such a feat. Nine goals should be nothing out of the ordinary. After all, Gabadinho netted 12 in the league. Nkagula and Kaulesi too had higher league returns.
But what makes Victor’s case special is that Wanderers coach Felix Fosiko, like his predecessor Frank ‘Franco’ Ndawa, took too long to find the right position for the boy. While the Nomads fired blanks upfront, Victor was wasted on the right wing. Every game brought with it a new strike partnership in Wanderers’ frontline.
For example, the pairings were like: Anthony Banda-Mapopa Msukwa (against Red Lions), Diverson Chilemba-Mapopa Msukwa (against Bullets), Evans Napolo-Phiri jnr (against Kamuzu Barracks).
But there are signs that Fosiko has finally found his main man upfront in Victor who rose to the occasion to deliver goals.
No matter how the Nomads would struggle, using his direct approach, speed and an eye for the target, Victor would just pop up, almost from nowhere, to score. His more talented father Albert, during his playing days, opted for muted celebrations after scoring.
But Victor has proved to be his own man. With the somersault after a goal and the boyish grin….Victor has it all. Albert avoids any linkage to his son in Wanderers’ squad selection.
“I have always said he never plays because he is my son. I made it clear to him and the rest of the players that he will only play if he works hard in training,” Albert remarked recently.
It seems Victor’s playing style is similar to that of his uncle Bob, who was never a fancy player, but no matter how tough the opposition, he just scored.
“I am happy for him,” is the furthest the quiet Bvumbwe Research mentor Bob has said about his nephew.
The future can only be promising.