In 1980, Rodgers Nyirongo quit Mighty Wanderers for the now defunct CCDC FC for fear of the wrath of authorities after the Nomads were disqualified on disciplinary grounds at the East and Central Africa Club Championship in Kenya.
The former right-back said with the then one-party government’s strictness on discipline, it was inevitably impossible to remain with the Nomads.
“Organisers of the competition disqualified us because we refused to accept a questionable penalty awarded to our opponents in the dying minutes of a quarter-final match. The linesman signalled an offside, but the referee thought otherwise and we walked out in protest.
“Upon arrival at Chileka Airport, government officials took us to task on the issue, saying we embarrassed the nation. A hearing followed that resulted in two of our teammates’ suspension. I quit immediately and joined CCDC.”
Nyirongo spent two seasons at the club before joining Admarc Tigers FC (now Azam Tigers)where he managed to help and was part of the team which reached the finals of the East and Central Africa Club Championship in Zanzibar in 1983.
“It felt good to be part of the Tigers’ squad that reached this stage. I cherish this moment because up to now, no local club has managed to reach this far in an international event,” said the father of five children.
The Machinjiri resident quit active football at Tigers in 1994 to become coach of the team’s junior side. Before he quit the coaching job in 1997, Nyirongo also mentored the senior team, lifting it from relegation zone to third place place.