The Inspector General (IG) of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) Lot Dzonzi has offered Blue Eagles and Flames new saviour John Banda advice on the need for him to keep his feet on the ground and never let the temporary fame to blur his football horizon.
Dzonzi met the Lilongwe sub-inspector Banda and some Eagles officials on Wednesday at police headquarters where the IG gave the Flames winger a token of appreciation of K40 000 (about $160) for the goals he scored against Nigeria and Chad recently.
“I called to congratulate him on making the police proud with the Flames. I also pleaded with him not to leave Blue Eagles. I gave him an example of the likes of Grey Chimphepo, who played for Blue Eagles and eventually coached the team and is still in the service,” said Dzonzi in an interview on Saturday.
The police chief also advised Banda to avoid falling into the trap of joining civilian teams to avoid retiring as a destitute.
“I also assured him that he can be allowed to play for a foreign team while serving in the police service,” said Dzonzi.
The police chief said his vision was for the MPS to be home to outstanding athletes as was the case in the 1970s and 1980s, when the police had the cream such as runner Golden Matiya.
Dzonzi recognised Banda for snatching a last gasp leveller in the 1-1 draw with Nigeria in a World Cup qualifier before putting Malawi on the path to a 2-0 beating of Chad last Saturday in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Banda, who made his Flames case to coach Kinnah Phiri in scoring on debut against Kenya at the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania last November, was also voted Standard Bank Cup best player for 2011 after steering Eagles to the cupâ€™s glory.
“This is the first time that I have been recognised by my employers for my football performance and I am very happy. It will make me work harder,” said the midfielder, with 10 caps and three goals.
MPS has in the recent past recognised and sponsored outstanding sportsperson Henry Moyo for his achievements as marathoner. In Zambia, Chipolopolo captain Christopher Katongo has earned army promotion for his football exploits.