That close control, that cheeky body swerve and, of course, sublime goals will remain embedded in the memory of those that were privileged to have watched him, but Joseph Kamwendo says there will be no turning back on his decision to retire from football.
After a distinguished 20-year career which began in 1999 at Mchinji Medicals and took him far and beyond, the 37-year-old announced his retirement on Monday.
And while some football fans posted on his Facebook page that they have not had enough of his silky skills, Kamwendo’s quick-fire response yesterday was that: “No chance. The train has left the station. I gave this issue a huge amount of thought before I came up with my final decision.
“It wasn’t easy, considering the passion I have for football, but I guess there always comes a time. It is time to pave the way for upcoming youngsters.”
He paid tribute to Be Forward Wanderers, the team that gave him the platform to scale lofty heights.
“I love this team and that is why the proper place to take a bow had to be at Lali Lubani Road.
“It [the club] means a lot to me and it will always have a special place in my heart and that is why I played without a contract last season. It was for the love of the team,” he said
Kamwendo also paid tribute to Civo United (now Civil Sporting Club), “for taking me from my village in Mchinji. To the fans, I say they have been wonderful and I thank them for their support and to my country in general, thanks for the wonderful time”.
The culturally left-footed midfielder also hailed his Nomads team-mates.
“Even though we wound up the season empty-handed, these guys gave their best shot. Even when they were not getting their game bonuses, they played for the badge and demonstrated their affection for the team.
“And one of the reasons I am retiring is because I am convinced that I am leaving behind a good side. The club management led by Gift Mkandawire was also amazing,” he said.
His illustrious career saw him become the first and only foreigner so far to win the Footballer of the Year Award in Zimbabwe in 2005 after an extraordinary season with Caps United whom he inspired to win the Premier Soccer League title.
Incredibly, in the same year, he was also voted Player of the Year in the MBC Entertainers of the Year event.
Kamwendo joined Wanderers in 2002 after a two-year stint with Civo and moved to Caps in 2004. Since then, he has had on-and-off stints with the Nomads until his retirement.
From Caps, Kamwendo was signed by Danish top-flight league side Nordsjaelland where he won the Goal of the Season Award and also inspired them to win the league.
He also had stints with Orlando Pirates (South Africa) and TP Mazembe (Democratic Republic of Congo)—considered among the top teams on the continent.
The other teams he played for were Club de Maculmana in Mozambique and South African National First Division side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) FC.
He is the eighth most capped Flames player with 104 appearances.
Kamwendo was also a key member of the historic Flames squad which qualified for 2010 Africa Cup of Nations after 26 years.