When the moment finally came, with Be Forward Wanderers exorcising the ghost that had haunted them for 11 years, there were scenes so lovely at Balaka Stadium as the Nomads faithful celebrated the TNM Super League title.
They were overwhelmed by the raw of beauty of a grand occasion that meant so much for each of them.
For the 11-year-olds in that stadium, this was their first dance with a league success story penned by their beloved team and for others, this was the end of a nightmare dating back to 2006 when the Lali Lubani Road outfit last won the title under Zimbabwean coach Rahman Gumbo.
Those with little faith had begun to wonder whether they would ever see this beautiful day—their beloved team toasting its golden moment of success, their players soaking in the warmth of the standing ovation from fans eternally grateful for what they had put into their shift, all this happening at an arena which they had turned into their fortress, but over 100 kilometres from their Blantyre base.
On Saturday, the Nomads erased the pain they had inflicted on their loyal fans and gave them reason to believe that tomorrow will not necessarily be bleak as yesterday after a stunning performance which blew away Masters Security.
And to add extra spice, they did it with a game to spare.
A visibly relieved and excited Nomads coach Yasin Osman said they deserved to win the flagship league this season.
“It was quite a tough journey. It wasn’t easy at all. It was all down to team spirit. We all pulled in the same direction and in the end, we got what we wanted.
“That we sealed the title with such a big margin win and a game to spare, underlines the fact that we were the deserving champions. We also had a good team,” he said.
There was that mighty roar, a feel of the ground shaking beneath their feet. They had it all and in style because style is what their team has been about all season.
They had depth in class and even in times when four or five players were not available for selection, they still stood up to be counted.
The beaming faces of celebrating souls told the story of the moment—a group of the fans joined by their players exploding in a frenzy of joy as they turned on the bekeshu jive.
Spontaneous parties started right in Balaka and extended to other areas, in particular Blantyre where some fans had an all-night rave-up.
Moffat ‘Kabe-kabe’ Chang’ambika, a Nomads staunch fan who followed the team from Blantyre, said the defining moment was all he had been waiting for.
“Talira nthawi yayitali, lero tizipepese basi [we have been miserable for a long time and today it’s time to celebrate].
A Lilongwe-based football analyst George Kaudza Masina said: “For the past two to three seasons, Wanderers have been assembling a strong squad, blending experience with upcoming talent. They had spirit, courage and undying determination and in the end, they got what they wanted.
“One of their strengths was that they made good use of home ground advantage and added to that, their start to the season was superb and they were consistent.”
And so on Saturday, they did it in spectacular fashion—sealing the title without breaking sweat with a 4-1 thumping of Masters and the lengthy wait was finally over! It was a confirmation that they are back in town.