It was a day that started with minyama (misfortunes) for me and I suspected something could go terribly wrong in the 2017 Afcon qualifiers between my beloved Flames and Guinea’s Syli Nationale.
Efelo (as in Ethel), a neighbour’s nanny, who has been my acquaintance for years, sent me the following heartbreaking text: “Ndati ndikudziwitseni kuti inu ndi ine tathana, zifukwa zake nazi: Ndikapempha ma yunitsi mumanditumizira a K50. ngakhale wivi (hair weave) olo meshi (mesh) imene ata kundigulira. Ndinu hadiweya kwabasi bambo inu. Komanso simundifikapo ata; monse mwayambira kupalasa njinga.”
So, as I headed to Kamuzu Stadium, my spirit was drained and not even Chiukepo Msowoya’s thunderbolt header—which gave the Flames the lead—could lift my spirits and when the Flames in the end lost the game, I was completely confused so were my fellow Flames fans.
As is often the case in such circumstances, we tend to overlook the positives and concentrate on the negatives, and as we swam in the murky waters of disappointment from our defeat, we fell prey to our emotions and I could not help but spare a thought for rookie goalkeeper Brightone Munthali, who most Malawians blamed for letting in the two goals that appeared as soft as cheeks of a newly-born baby.
In a flash, we forgot that this was the same teenage ‘keeper who put up a vintage performance Guinea away just a few days earlier. It is sad that within just a space of three days, he turned from hero to villain.
There were even suggestions that coach Ernest Mtawali gambled by opting for the less experienced ‘keeper instead of the usual comedians who have broken our hearts before to the extent of trying to pull a save as if akukupa ngumbi kapena ziwala. Let us not demotivate the boy, he has a bright future ahead of him. Uloliwe, uloliwe wayidudula neng’asiza hah! (The train is pushing). Glory be to God. n