Traditional chiefs stole the show on Sunday during the launch of the K100 000 (about $334) Ruth Njiragoma Trophy at the Beni Kadzilawa ground in Ntcheu. They took on their aides in a curtain-raiser to the ceremonial match between Dzawole Young Lions and Chitungu Young Stars.
The chiefs, aged between 40 and 70, won the thirty-minute game 1-0. Dreadlocked village headman Kamzingeni scored from 20 metres early in the first half.
But it was the wonderful skills displayed by the chiefs that left fansâ€™ tongues wagging on the day. It was a rare experience to see traditional chiefs such as Dzoole One, Chidzulo and Dzakwera spin on the ball and exchanged passes among themselves.
The game was also filled with drama that threw fans into irresistible laughter. Some of the chiefs while attempting to clear the ball could whip the wind and lose balance, to find themselves on the dusty pitch.
â€œThis was to let the youth know that despite my old age, I still have football skills in my legs. I was once one of the best players in my school days,â€ said village headman Dzakwera after the game.
Njiragoma said she thought of introducing the competitions to keep the youth away from dangerous behaviours and also create a nursery from which elite leagues can pluck talent.