Flames legend Ernest ‘Wire’ Mtawali has been named among 11 legends who lit up the Cosafa Cup in the past 24 years.
Others are Zimbabwe’s all-time great Peter Ndlovu, Mozambique’s legend Manuel José Luís Bucuane, universally known as ‘Tico-Tico’, South Africa’s former goalkeeper Brian ‘Spiderman’ Baloyi, Zambia’s Rotson Kilambe, Angola’s Fabrice ‘Akwa’ Matheus, Botswana’s Dipsy Selolwane, E-Swatini’s Siza Dlamini, Namibia’s Johannes ‘Congo’ Hindjou, Lesotho’s Lehlohonolo Seema and Mauritius’ Kersley Appou.
A write-up posted on Cosafa’s website www.cosafa.com, reads in part: “The Cosafa Cup has seen the birth of many careers down the years, with players using the regional showpiece to launch themselves on the path to stardom.
“Here are 11 players who have lit up the showpiece tournament with their skill and written their names in history over the last 24 years, as we await the new generation of heroes in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 6-18.”
On Mtawali, the write up states: “Ernest Mtawali was a stalwart of the early years of the Cosafa Cup and a creative genius for The Flames in many victories.
“A player with enormous talent, he had a successful career in South Africa, Argentina and France, and spent 17 years with the Malawi national team. Such was his ability that he joined Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys on the recommendation if Diego Maradona!
“Mtawali has also served on the technical team of the Malawi national side in the recent past.”
The former Flames coach, also had brief stints in Italy at lower league side AS Bassano and Al Wahda in Saudi Arabia besides starring for top clubs in South Africa such as Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Bloemfontein Celtic.
He also became the first foreigner to win the Footballer of the Year Award in South Africa in 1985.
Though not mentioned, other Malawian players whose quality shone in the regional showpiece include Esau ‘Black Mamba’ Kanyenda, who won the Player of the Tournament Award in 2002, John Maduka, Chance Gondwe, Patrick ‘General’ Mabedi and Peter ‘Mjojo’ Mponda.
The Flames have never won the tournament since its inception in 1997, but have been in the final twice in 2002 and 2003.