Flames legend Esau Kanyenda’s record for the longest scoring spree in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) has survived after Maritzburg United striker Thabiso Kutumela failed to score in his club’s 2-0 loss to Orlando Pirates on Sunday.
Kanyenda scored 11 goals in seven consecutive league matches, including a hat-trick and two braces for Jomo Cosmos in the 2001/02 season.
No other PSL player has achieved this feat since then.
Kutumela came close to denting Kanyenda’s record after netting seven goals in the last six matches for Ernst Middendorp’s side.
He scored at least once in each of the games against Black Leopards, Bloemfontein Celtic, Kaizer Chiefs, TS Galaxy and Chippa United.
However, failure to score in the match against the Buccaneers on Sunday meant Kanyenda’s record is safe.
The former Dwangwa United marksman, who is now based in United Kingdom, felt flattered with the 27-year-old’s effort.
Kanyenda’s goals included a hat-trick and two braces in games against Manning Rangers, Wits University (now Bidvest Wits), Santos, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bush Bucks, Black Leopards and SuperSport United.
Unfortunately, Kanyenda ended up losing out on the Golden Boot Award that season to the late Lesley Manyathela, who scored 18 goals, one more than him.
But the Flames international’s form earned him a deal with Russia’s top-flight league outfit Rostov in 2003. He also had a stint with Russian giants Lokomotiv Moscow where he made his Uefa Champions League debut.
He returned to South Africa to help Polokwane City earn promotion to the PSL and, eventually, ended his career at TNM Super League’s Be Forward Wanderers in 2016.
Soccer analyst George Chiusiwa described Kanyenda as the best striker Malawi has produced in recent years.
“The Black Mamba could vent venom in front of goal without any mercy. One of the best Malawian sons to have graced the PSL in the Rainbow Nation who also stands out as one of the best football imports to South Africa in the past three decades,” he said.