Italy and Juventus talisman Andrea Pirlo is my football person. He has re-invented the deep-lying midfield role, bridging defence with attack; thanks to his assortment of outside-the-boot passes, wonder free-kicks and split vision to see space before it opens. And oh those beards!
A World Cup and Champions League winner, Pirlo displayed his latest genius last Sunday when blasting in a stunner that decided Della Mole derby against Torino. All that ought to be studied about the 35-year father of Angela and Niccolo as is offered in his biography I think therefore I play.
And it seems every team that desires success ought to have a Pirlo of some sort; not only defined by advanced football age, character and wealth of experience.
Talk of Phillip Lahm (31 years) for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, Iker Casillas (33) of Real Madrid, Spain, Surprise Moriri (34) for South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns and Murape Murape, 34, (Dynamos, Zimbabwe).
And for 2014 TNM Super League champions Big Bullets, you can apportion their success to veterans James Chilapondwa, Chiku Kanyenda, Jimmy Zakazaka and the best of them all, Fischer Kondowe.
The dreadlocked winger (who in Ethiopia was called Jahman), who has won a double this season, is the reason the current generation of players should be ashamed of failing to dislodge him in his position.
Kondowe can be a divisive figure owing to his care-free attitude that sees him court controversy after another, yet he is locally probably the fittest, most consistent and provider of most assists. He matches players half his age in pace and no winger crosses the ball the sharpest.
For all his abrasive character, no Bullets player won more man -of-the- match awards this season. To see such old legs compete tirelessly for the Flames against star-studded Mali proved that sometimes hard-work can be superior to talent.
The other only player, who has played the longest in the Super League, is Lameck Thindwa who rarely plays at Moyale Barracks and has never won the league title. Yet, in a career spanning 15 years and seven league titles, Kondowe has thrived on high work ethic, obsession with fitness and mastery of football basics.
Kondowe simplifies football; gets the ball, passes first time, goes in space and from the return pass, whips the ball into the box. Over and over again. Statistics compel me to rate Kondowe as this season’s player of the year. n