When President Peter Mutharika ‘challenged’ celebrated South Africa-based Malawian boxer Isaac Chilemba to a 12-round non-title bout, it was some light-hearted stuff that cheered the spirits of many given that the President hardly jokes and when he does, they are usually dry jokes.
The President even declared that he would ‘knock out’ the ‘Golden Boy’ in the third round as he brushed off speculations on his ‘ill’ health while in the US. It was the jazz that hogged the limelight in the public domain and was even featured on BBC.
Forget not that I offered to train the big shot and when he ‘accepted the offer’, I was left far from being convinced that he could stand the heat against the ‘Golden Boy’. As I put him through the paces at Kamuzu Palace, APM would fall on his own every time he hit a punch bag and he could’t even go beyond two push-ups. To make matters worse, instead of throwing jabs, he threw zikwapa no wonder even Chilemba himself declared that he would knock him out in under ‘10 seconds’.
But perhaps the climax of APM and Chilemba’s ‘mind games’ came last week when Chilemba jokingly claimed that the right shoulder injury he suffered in his recent international title bout against Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk was because he had been ‘bewitched’ by the President so that their ‘planned bout’ should be cancelled. Ironically, APM also had a shoulder injury on his right shoulder caused by nyamakazi.
I remember APM went to Mulanje a few days after his return from the States, I am sure he should have met a sing’anga to ‘sort out’ the ‘loud-mouthed’ Golden Boy.
Well, that was just some light-hearted stuff. On a serious note, I would like to applaud the President for recognising Chilemba as a national hero. It is very rare that our leaders recognise achievements by some of our athletes who defy the odds to scale dizzy heights and put the country on the map like Chilemba has done over the years.
And coming at a time the chips are down for the ‘Golden Boy’ after three straight losses, I am sure it will be a source of motivation. Uloliwe, uloliwe wayidudula, neng’esiza hah! (Oh yes, the train is pushing). Glory be to God.