The image of Flames midfielder Yamikani Chester sporting an oversized short round the waistline as he prepared to be thrown into service against Mauritius at the 2017 Cosafa Cup in South Africa, gave the social media their meal.
It was such a sorry sight watching Chester looking more like oheda matumba (porters) at Limbe Market or ojiya (minibus tout) than an ace national team midfielder.
The Flames became a laughing stock at the regional showpiece and even the then Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa referred to the kit as kaunjika (second-hand clothing) while others labelled it as nyangwita.
Some even taunted that Chester looked like a herdboy (m’busa wa ng’ombe) from the village.
Well, as if that was not enough, last week I was touched to see a picture of some Under-17 national team players putting on plastic sandals popularly known as mbaula.
I could not help but feel pity for those poor lads and for a while I wondered whether the dudes at Football Association of Malawi (FAM) could not afford to buy even those cheap slip-ons sold by vendors in Limbe, some of them are as cheap as K500 a pair.
And can’t we afford some cheap tracksuits for the lads than those T-shirts and shorts which make them look like mabolera (ball boys)?
But boys will be boys and in that age of innocence, it did not matter that they put on nkhwaila on a tour of national duty and, to their credit, they gave their best shot and won their first game 2-0 against Botswana. Those fellas gave me and albeit, many others, reason to smile. Uloliwe, uloliwe wayidudula nen’gesiza hah! (Oh yes, the train is pushing). Glory be to God. n