When Symon Vuwa-Kaunda was first appointed Youth Development and Sports Minister a couple of years back, he boasted to Flames players that as a young man, he used to be an accomplished goalkeeper in his home district Nkhata Bay.
Vuwa claimed that such were his heroics between the posts that most young ladies at Nkhata Bay Boma adored him and after every match, they would give him gifts such as boiled groundnuts, cassava, bananas and mandasi.
But alas! I learnt later from a certain guy who grew up with him that he never used to be a goalkeeper and, to the contrary, he was a good swimmer and was swift on either freestyle or backstroke that he even outclassed agile fish at their own game.
The gentleman tells me that where Vuwa claimed to have been a good diver for the ball, he actually used to leap into the water with breath-taking efficiency. To separate himself from pretenders, it is said, he could exhibit a stunning bare-hand hunt for the most elusive fish, including the elusive chigumbuli and that he had several admirers for his exploits.
I am told, he was also one of those naughty fellas who would pinch a few fish from one fisherâ€™s nose, then dive into the water, disappear before emerging somewhere far away to the surprise of onlookers. I am yet to prove this with Vuwa, but this is information I have, from Nkhata Bay, of course.
So, I am not surprised that the new Sports Minister Enock Chakufwa Chihana also claims to have been an â€˜overlapping defenderâ€™ in his secondary school days in Kasungu. Well, I hope the story I have heard that brother Enock was only known for mganda dancing is just a joke.
That said, let me bid Vuwa farewell. He tried his best and I will always cherish the part he played in Flames qualification for 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and, hopefully, brother Enock will take us a step further and try everything possible that the Flames should not only qualify for the continental showpiece, but go on to win the event. â€˜If Zambia did it, why canâ€™t we?â€™
On a lighter note, I hear on Sunday the new minister was at Nankhaka ground watching Agnes Mtimaukanenaâ€™s international bout. Hopefully, he will also come down to Blantyre, so that I can take him to Blantyre Youth Centre, there is a netball court and he will not want to leave! Welcome aboard honourable, our landing is usually smooth. Holaaa!!!
AOB: I now have a new valentine in Anita Kalinde because ever since Akweni Patricia Kaliati relocated to Nkando, she has been elusive. She promised we would have picnic at the banks of Thuchila River, but I might as well forget about that picnic. Probably, it will now be Madam Anita taking me along the banks of Nansadi River as we enjoy zipwete in the nearby fields.