Tragedy hit the football fraternity yesterday following the death of TNM Super League candidates Mlatho Mponela owner Maxwell Phiri in a road accident in Ntcheu.
A statement from Dedza Police public relations officer Hastings Chigalu said the accident occured at Tsamba area on Masasa-Golomoti Road when the vehicle Phiri was driving, a Toyota Hilux registration NS 3396, swerved to the nearside of the road after reportedly failing to negotiate a bend.
He said due to the impact of the accident, Phiri sustained a fractured right arm and died at Dedza District Hospital due to loss of blood.
The emotional impact of the tragedy has taken a toll on the Dowa-based ambitious club as the players and officials are struggling to come to terms with their patron’s death.
Mlatho Mponela FC general secretary Yohane Banda yesterday said they were all in a state of shock.
“Words can’t describe how I feel. A truly great, kind, loving man who will be missed so much by everyone. It is a big loss and Mponela community has lost a great man. We are not even certain about the future of the team,” he said.
Team captain Duncan Mwale said he could not believe it when he first heard the news.
“He was more than a football administrator. To us, Mr. Phiri was like a father. He did great things for this team. I am so heartbroken. He was a rare person,” said the grieving captain.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda said: “It is a big loss to the soccer fraternity and our thoughts are with the bereaved family.”
According to a funeral programme released by the deceased’s family, Phiri’s body will be collected from Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) mortuary in Lilongwe at 10am today to Kagwa Parish in Area 49 where there will be a mass before proceeding to his home village in Mchinji for burial tomorrow.
Phiri, 39, hailed from Mavwenje Village, Traditional Authority Zulu in Mchinji.
Apart from being Mlatho Mponela FC patron, Phiri was the managing director of Mlatho Technologies, the team’s sponsors.
At the start of the current season, the late Phiri had said his dream was to see the club winning the Chipiku Stores Central Region Football Association Premier Division championship to earn promotion into the TNM Super League, a feat which was duly accomplished.