I donâ€™t know where to start from, but suffice to say the man I fondly called Uncle Henry will always have a special place in my heart. I did not even know how to react when I got wind of the death of this celebrated former national football coach for Malawi, Henry Chapasi Moyo.
Everytime we spoke on the phone, he would scream: â€œUkuti bwanji kape iwe? Â Iwe nde kape wa makape onse, sindinawonepo kape ngati iwe! Ukuti bwanji kape?â€ I would crack up for a couple of minutes to the point of forgetting the purpose of my calling him.
I came to know Henry in my childhood days as father to my good friend, Kelvin. It was during the same time that I learnt he was the national football team deputy coach.
I remember â€˜Mbwangaâ€™, as he was fondly called, as a chirpy and blithe fella. I still remember when Kelvin would report me to his daddy that I had snatched away his packed meal or pinched his pocket money. But many a time, Mbwangaâ€™s reaction would be a mocking: â€œAkuchita bwino, ndiwe kape uzichenjera mphwanga!â€
Former Flames captain Jack Chamangwana also has his funny tale of Mbwanga. According to Jack, he fondly remembers an incident when Moyo was national coach in 1982. He had called up a then up-and-coming Ernest Mtawali who showed no manners during his maiden training and dribbled past Jack, who fell headlong.
And Mbwanga was not amused. He stopped the session while laughing and said: â€œIyi ndi minyama! Basi training yatha, munthu wamkulu wawona zakuda, akathowedwe basi!â€
But there is one funny tale I heard about Mbwanga that cheers my spirits to this day. I am reliably informed that when he was coach for MDC United, the players asked him to pray ahead of a final. Apparently, he was filled with tension to the extent that at the end he forgot Jesus Christ and stammered: â€œAmbuye, zonsezi tikupempha kudzera mwa mwana wanu…ndani uyu…uyu ndani uyu…â€ before someone chipped in with a timely reminder, saying: â€œYesu Khristu!â€™ And he said: â€œEya! Amen!â€
These are memories of the man who first guided my beloved Flames to the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 1984 and the 1987 All Africa Games.Â
What can I say Uncle Henry? Go well big shot! I will always cherish everything you offered to your motherland. To God be the glory! Uloliwe.. uloliwe wayidudula hi..nangâ€™esiza! [The train is pushing!]