Such is the cruelty of death that just when Big Bullets FC players were plotting how to overturn the 4-0 humiliation against Al Hilal yesterday, tragedy struck the People’s Team camp after news filtered in about their colleague Douglas Chirambo’s death.
The gifted former Flames left-back died in the morning at Thyolo District Hospital after a long illness. He had just been diagonised with a brain tumour.
Bullets acting chairperson Sadik Malinga and general secretary Harold Fote confirmed the player’s death, but said they were still waiting to get funeral arrangements from the deceased’s family.
“We are now taking the body to College of Medicine in Blantyre. But at the time of his death, arrangements had already been made to transfer him to Blantyre for further treatment and a Masm ambulance was already on its way to pick him up. We should also acknowledge efforts by Daud Ntanthiko [Southern Region Football Association treasurer] in making all these arrangements,” said Fote from Thyolo.
Speaking before yesterday’s CAF Champions League first- round second leg tie, Bullets captain Fischer Kondowe said it was obvious that Chirambo’s death would affect their performance.
“Amwene imfa sizoloweleka ndipo ndi chinthu chowawa kwambiri [my brother, death is not something one gets used to. It is very painful]. So, obviously it will affect our performance, especially coming just a few hours before the game. We will dedicate this match to him.
“Douglas was one of the most dedicated players in the team and even at a time when it was at the verge of extinction sometime back, he never jumped ship,” said Kondowe.
Ironically, just before Chirambo’s death, Flames captain Joseph Kamwendo phoned The Nation yesterday appealing to the soccer fraternity to join hands and save his life.
“Please Garry, tell the nation kuti we as players tikudandawula kuti mzathu akusowa chithandizo. Ndiye tikupempha kuti chonde Amalawi tithandizeni kuti mzathu alandire chithandizo kuti tikhale naye monga nthawi zonse [please Garry convey a message to Malawians that as players, we are touched with our colleague’s condition and we are appealing to Malawians to help towards the cause],” said Kamwendo.
He said national team players held a meeting soon after the friendly game in Tanzania to plan on how to help Chirambo.
And, speaking on behalf of FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, club licensing and facilities manager Casper Jangale described Chirambo’s death as a huge blow to the soccer fraternity.
Chirambo, who was in his 20s, played for Dwasco before joining Bullets. He made his debut for the Flames in 2007 against Swaziland away in Mbabane under Stephene Constrantine. His last appearance was during the 2013 Cosafa Cup.
He has been ill since late last year. He came from Bolero in Rumphi District.