The flops and pretenders are countless. But with your fingers, you can count the exceptions to sons who step out of their legendary fathers’ shadows and carve out own legacies.
Take an example of ex-Chelsea’s Eidur Gudjohnsen retracing his father Arnor’s boots.
Of late, Jordan and Dede Ayew have put strong cases against Ghanaian critics who view everything through the ‘sun glasses’ of the duos’ legendary father Abedi ‘Pele’.
There could be few more exceptions.
But oftentimes, counterfeit talents storm Planet Football threatening to scale their seniors’ heights. It all ends in empty threats. Peter Schmeichel, Diego Maradona, Pele and Zinedine Zidane’s sons etc.
Back home, frustrations have former star players discouraging their children from football careers.
But others such as defunct MDC United legend Gerald Phiri Senior have let mother nature take its course on their sons such as Gerald ‘Papa’ Phiri Junior.
The 19-year-old Papa might not be a big hit to local fans who value more showboating players while relegating the rest to the periphery.
This could explain why two seasons into the Super League, Papa has been spared of the destructive praises that endangers emerging talents.
Watching Papa play in his Brave Warriors’ debut in the then Arkay Premier Division around 2010, I thought he was another pretender.
But the more I watched his impeccable dead-ball skills, ball playing and awareness of space, the more I became a reluctant convert.
What really compels me to predict a big future for Papa is more to do with his temperament, technical ability and height (roughly1.8 metres).
His ball retention and work ethic is average. He is also feeble on the ball.
But ask any Europe scout, these are, unlike ill discipline and diminutiveness, bearable shortcomings needing just months of gym work-outs.
Least skilled but hard working players blessed with physical presence, can make it in Europe than extravagantly talented ones with the other shortcomings. Clement Kafwafwa is the case study.
I, therefore, get worried that Malawi junior national team players’ selection disregards, deliberately or otherwise, physical attributes.
Unless you are extraordinary like Lionel Messi, right physical attributes are paramount in football.
Papa has the right qualities which must have compelled Caps United to, out of all skilled Wanderers’ midfielders, go for him. He seems the real deal.
Let us hope Papa signs for Caps in Zimbabwe where their football is exposed through SuperSport.