It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Malawian players in South Africa where battle-hardened forward Esau Kanyenda inspired his side Polokwane City to earn automatic promotion to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) after clinching the National First Division (NFD) championship.
While Kanyenda was floating on air, his compatriot Harry Nyirenda sang blues following the relegation of his team Black Leopards from the top-flight league.
Kanyenda finished the season with 10 goals, four goals shy of the Golden Boot Award winner Nkosinathi Mthiyane. He was third on the list.
Polokwane City won the championship in a dramatic fashion as they tied on points with Tawonga Chimodzi’s Santos, but to their credit, Polokwane had a better goal difference.
“I am happy because of the contribution I have made in helping Polokwane to earn promotion considering that I was the team’s overall top scorer,” said Kanyenda in a telephone interview from Polokwane on Monday.
The former Dwasco, Jomo Cosmos, FC Rostov, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Kamaz and B93 striker also said had his work permit been processed in good time, he would have had a better chance of winning the Golden Boot Award.
Another Flames star, Robert ‘Baggio’ Ng’ambi inspired his Platinum Stars to a respectable second-place PSL finish.
Nyirenda’s Leopards finished the season at the foot of the 16-team league with 23 points from 30 games while Ng’ambi’s Stars were just a point shy of champions Kaizer Chiefs on 56 points.
In an interview yesterday, Nyirenda who featured in the final game against Free State Stars as they went down 3-2 on Saturday, said it was painful to face the harsh reality of being relegated.
On whether he will go down with Lidoda Dhuva, Nyirenda said: “I will be meeting the team’s management on Monday to see what’s next.”
On his part, Ng’ambi whose side thrashed Atusaye Nyondo’s SuperSport United 3-0 to get the bridesmaid role said: “I have had a fantastic season, scoring seven league goals, just six goals short of the Golden Boot winner Katlego Mashego and, yes, I am happy. But I will not sit on my laurels.”