If truth be told, strikers who are natural finishers are difficult to find in our local leagues. When todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s football giants fail to score because of blunt striking forces, fans of old curse the day Thango PaipiÃ¢â‚¬â€a merciless strikerÃ¢â‚¬â€hang his boots.
Paipi left the stage in 1994 while playing for Admarc Tigers because his job as wages clerk at Admarc was too demanding. The 49-year-old father of four and brother to former Civo player John [Paipi], is working as unit market officer (UMO) for Gowa Market and stays at Manjawira in Balaka.
Despite his superb finishing, Paipi never played for the Flames. All the same he had a brilliant 16-year soccer career during which he was nicknamed Ã¢â‚¬ËœVan DanoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ after former Brazilian striker.
He was a rolling stone. He launched his career at the then Limbe Leaf Stars in Lilongwe. He later joined Cold Storage FC. In 1985, he signed for Civo United where he was instrumental in the clubÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s qualification for the 1987 CAF League Champions in Sudan. Civo failed to qualify for the quarter-finals.
He joined Wanderers in 1988 and went to Blue Eagles a year later. His first game at the police side was against Tigers where he scored two goals. He dumped Eagles for Tigers in 1990 and helped the Ã¢â‚¬ËœKau-KauÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ boys to lift the Kamuzu Cup. He was the top goalscorer in that competition.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I still remember the goal I scored for Wanderers in a cup game against Sucoma. I curled a corner kick and the goalkeeper thought the ball was going out, but it went straight into the net. It was unbelievable,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Paipi, who currently coaches Manjawira Admarc, advises players to be committed.