Flames legend Ernest Mtawali has paid tribute to Argentine football legend Diego Armando Maradona, 60, who died on Wednesday of heart attack.
The former Malawi national football team midfielder and coach played alongside with Maradona at Newells Old Boys FC in Argentina in an indoor soccer tournament in 1993.
Aside from that, it was Maradona who recommended Mtawali to Newells in 1995 and made it possible for him to play at the French top-league club Toulouse.
“This is a very sad day for me; I have lost my idol,” he said.
“I got a chance to play in Argentina for Newells Old Boys after he recommended me to the club in 1995. By the way, Diego played for the club towards the end of his career and it was an honour to play with him.
“He also made it possible for me to go to France to play for Toulouse. I will forever treasure those moments. The world says goodbye to an eternal genius. Rest in peace legend Diego ‘Armando’ Maradona.”
Mtawali said the first time he watched Maradona playing live was when he moved to Bassano Virtus in Italy in 1986.
“He was playing for Napoli in Seria A, which was by far the best league in the world in those days. All the best footballers played in Italy then and for me, from what I saw, Diego Maradona was the best player,” he said.
Maradona, considered one of the all-time best football players in the world, was also famous for the ‘Hand of God’ goal he scored for Argentina against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
It was not a surprise therefore that, according to www.dailymail.co.uk, England soccer legend Gary Lineker found himself under-fire from critics, who were offended by his Twitter remarks “Hopefully, he [Maradona] will finally find some comfort in the hands of God”.
Lineker also scored in that quarter-final, but it was Maradona’s hand-guided goal that earned Argentina a 2-1 victory and a semi-final place.
Bloemfontein Celtic secured their first win of the season in the DStv Premiership after defeating Black Leopards 1-0 on Wednesday evening.
Celtic coach John Maduka recalled Ryan De Jongh, Menzi Masuku, Sifiso Ngobeni and Tebogo Potsane, whilst Leopards coach Dylan Kerr named an unchanged eleven from their 1-0 win over Maritzburg United.
Leopards got an early chance seconds from kick-off, but Rodney Ramagalela missed.
Potsane soon brought Celtic to life after launching in a first-time volley from the inside left of the area, but Leopards goalkeeper King Ndlovu made a routine save.
Yet another opening went the way of Potsane before the half-hour mark following a shot inside the six-yard area, but the attempt was beaten to safety by Ndlovu.
Potsane appeared to be the go-to-guy for Celtic deep in added time, but failed to put his side ahead after bringing down a ball over the top from Ndumiso Mabena before blasting over the target from six yards.
Kerr made the game’s first substitution at the start of the second half in Tebogo Makobela, who replaced Tiklas Thutlwa.
However, Siwelele Sa Masele made their first dominance count 10 minutes into the second half when Mabena swept home a cutback from the left-side of the area by Potsane.
Mabena looked for a brace on 64 minutes following a first-time cross from the left by Ngobeni, but the veteran forward blazed over the top of Ndlovu’s goal with the defence backing off.
Lidoda Duvha remained on the ropes minutes later when a teasing ball from Mabena released Victor Letsoalo on the far side, but the latter fluffed his lines from point-blank range.
With chances either end in the remaining minutes, Celtic claimed their first win of the season in the league.—Kickoff.Com