About eight years might have passed, but it remains an incident that thrills my world. The then Football Association of Malawi (FAM) CEO Charles Nyirenda offered me a lift in his official vehicle—Isuzu KB— but as I was about to jump in, he alerted me that the front passenger door could only be opened from inside. He also handed me a plier and spanner in case I wanted to unwind the front passenger seat window.
Then a few years later, I visited FAM’s Mpira Village for an informal chat with competitions manager, Gomezgani Zakazaka, he offered me a drink and I opted for something hot.
And upon seeing him bring tins of Nido milk and Milo Hot Chocolate, I salivated with anticipation of being treated to a sumptuous hot drink. But alas! The Nido tin contained sugar while the Milo one had some low-class tea leaves! That’s when I realised they were just “screensavers”.
But after a while I again visited Mpira Village and noticed positive changes, the whole set-up was professional. Even at the reception, I was received by a beautiful combo of a lady unlike previously when it was occupied by a cleaner who doubled roles.
That is not all. The toilets were also refreshingly clean and for a change, I saw there were toilet tissues complete with air freshener spray unlike the last time when I found a pile of newspaper cuttings. Even FAM management team is also driving posh cars, a confirmation that the winds of change have been blowing at the football governing body.
That was not the case a decade ago when the whole FAM CEO would be splashed with rain water by a passing minibus on his way to work because FAM could not provide him with an official vehicle.
At the helm of the association for the past five years has been a young man called Suzgo Nyirenda, who is now serving notice as he waits to take up his new job as Cosafa deputy CEO. And as he takes a bow at the end of the month, I would like to applaud Suzgo for his good work, in particular his noble contribution towards turning things around at the association. Although the Flames continued to be perennial underachievers under his tenure, generally, he did well. We now have an association that no longer operates on katapila. I wish you well as you look forward to a new lease of life in Jo’burg mate. Uloliwe, uloliwe wayidudulaneng’esiza hah! (oh yes, the train is pushing). Glory be to God.