Nobody can afford to look away from the exploits of the Flames in Cameroon where they are making their third-ever appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
This space cannot be the only one facing north when everyone is heading south. This and That shares in the exploits of our beloved Flames. And just like all Malawians, we have been following keenly as the events unfold in Cameroon.
Just one difference-as This and That, we are looking at the Afcon beyond the football sense. We have brought in artistic spectacles to the showpiece event. And that is the music side of the tournament. Music and football have always flowed together and my standpoint I guess will not surprise many.
If we look back on our football history, we find plenty music compositions around the theme of football that eventually became household songs.
In 1988, the late States Samangaya led the Police Orchestra Band to produce one of the most loved songs in history Moto Moto. It had its base on the success of the Malawi national team in the East and Central African Challenge Cup. Even today, the song still provides a good reflective point in Malawi’s dithering football fortunes.
The same cast was also responsible for another historical hit, Sapota, a widely loved tune by any standards. Fast-forward, we have enjoyed compositions from Bubu Lazy, Saul Chembezi, Blessings Kachopwa, Albert Khonza and General KC.
When the Flames sealed their qualification at the continental competition, Brian ‘Mystery’ Kabuba, a Lilongwe-based singer and music producer released a four-piece extended play (EP) inspired by Malawi’s qualification for the finals.
He told me the production of the EP was a fulfilment of the dream he had about Malawi’s qualification. Kabuba said the music was meant to spur the mood within the team and Malawians in the lead up to the tournament.
I had the privilege of listening to the songs; Flames Yadza, Umodzi Umodzi, Yayaka Moto and Mbambande. The spirit in which the songs were done was one reflecting triumph and they had that feel-good and party factor to it.
Kabuba even claimed he sold the idea to the country’s football administrative hub at Mpira House in Chiwembe, Blantyre. He said they warmed to the idea and his subsequent effort. And like a good patriot that he displayed to be, he got a pat on the back.
However, promotion of the songs proved to be a good challenge ultimately it’s unmaking. I am not sure which platform would have done the trick for the EP to receive the publicity and reception that it required to serve its purpose.
The music tray is understandably overflowing and for one to leave a grade with his work, it requires one to be efficient beyond the recording studios. There are issues of promotion and marketing which need to be handled with absolute grit.
Maybe the country’s FA needed to give him a push to help in the visibility of the songs. But in my interaction with the FA media and competitions manager Gomezgani Zakazaka on the artist’s initiative, he indicated the association was in the process of coming up with an official theme song.
He said they were working on modalities on how to conduct an inclusive process which will involve all musicians interested to bring their compositions to be tested.
As the team stepped on the field three weeks ago, there was nothing resembling an official theme song for the Flames. We just went on the battle field with our national anthem. That was all we had closer to music in association with the team.
Thus far we have enjoyed the events on the field as displayed by our brave troops, but the 12th player in the stands and us back at home, we have missed the rhythm which makes the game even exciting.