Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has joined the region in mourning the demise of Malawi football legend Jack ‘Africa’ Chamangwana.
The former Kaizer Chiefs coach and player, 61, passed away on Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre after a short illness.
In a statement from general secretary Sue Destombes, the regional football governing body said it is saddened by the death of one of its own.
The statement reads: “The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations [Cosafa] is deeply shocked and saddened by the passing of Mr. Jack Chamangwana, who was one of the greatest former football players from Malawi and also coached a number of teams.
“The entire Cosafa family hereby extends its deepest sympathies to the bereaved family, FAM [Football Association of Malawi] and the entire football fraternity in Malawi for the demise of one of our own.”
Kaizer Chiefs chairperson Kaizer Motaung also sent a eulogy for Chamangwana, who was given the moniker ‘The Black Stone’ in his hey days at Amakhosi.
“His was a life of football that epitomized success considering his achievements during his playing stint at Kaizer Chiefs from 1986 until 1988. I am glad that he returned to his native country to serve Malawian football as technical director for Malawian heavyweights Be Forward Wanderers,” he said.
“The Black Stone’ endeared himself in the hearts and minds of Kaizer Chiefs supporters and South African football fraternity at large. He was loved, indeed! His contribution speaks volumes and is cast in stone in the history books of Kaizer Chiefs and football in general. We won several accolades during his time at Kaizer Chiefs and most notably winning the League Championship under his wing as our coach in 1989.”
Motaung recalled that his last interaction with Chamangwana was last year when he invited him to watch the Soweto Derby.
He said: “In trying to console myself, I recall vividly March 2017 when we invited the late Jack to the Soweto Derby. I relived the glory days with him and enjoyed lunch together. Little did I know his visit was his goodbye. So sad. During his visit, he shared his knowledge of football and told me he watched every Kaizer Chiefs match on DStv. I’m glad to have shared in his life and times. What a great gentleman!
““The Black Stone may be gone but, there’s so much to cherish in his memory. I wish God will grant you the spirit to forge ahead under the circumstances. His well lived life is worth a celebration. It is time to accept that the ‘Black Stone’ has left us with fond memories. It is difficult I know! Rest assured, God will not desert you especially during the dark days. The Black Stone will be resurrected to live peacefully in heaven.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the tribute pouring for Chamangwana speaks volume of the kind of person he was apart from being a player and coach.
“In him we have lost a pillar,” he said.
Yesterday, hundreds of soccer lovers, players and officials flocked Hockey Stadium, formerly Kamuzu Stadium upper ground in Blantyre, to bid farewell to the Flames legend.
The funeral programme started at his home in Magalasi, Blantyre, where President Peter Mutharika and Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima, several government officials and Malawi National Council of Sports chairperson James Chuma were in attendance.
From the vigil house, Chamangwana’s remains were taken to the stadium where football fans had a chance to bid farewell to the former Flames defender.
After the sermon at the stadium, Chamangwana’s remains headed for his final resting place at Misesa Cemetery in Blantyre.
Chamangwana, who came from the area of Paramount Chief Gomani in Ntcheu District, is survived by a wife and three children.