I remember it was in the very late 70s when my seniors, cousin Dave Chikankabe and his friends Jones Stambuli (RIP), Eddie Nsokera and Cainess Phiri aka Poly (RIP), took me to the BAT ground to watch my first ever organized football match between Yamaha Wanderers and Bata Bullets.
This game has remained vivid in my mind because it was there and then that I made a decision to support Wanderers. Barnet Gondwe mesmerized me because of his nimble feet, speed and power-packed shot. Indeed he was ‘dynamite’.
Lawrence Perreira and Robert Banda dictated the pace and flow of the game. Both Wanderers and Bullets responded to what Perreira and Banda decided as the game progressed.
Wanderers won by 4 goals to zero. I can’t remember all the scorers apart from one that was scored straight from a corner kick by Barnet. I was very young so excuse me.
Bullets had two top goal scorers in the league on their line up ie Kinnah Phiri and Spy Msiska. It had who I considered the best midfielder then, Tom Kazembe, who ably fed the two with appetizing through balls, crosses and passes.
Indeed this was dangerous for the Nomads. Bullets could have easily scored 10 goals if you consider how many times they got into the wanderers’ danger zone. But eeeish! It wasn’t going to happen. All because of one man.
Jack Africa Chamangwana was a well built and intelligent Wanderers defender, wearing jersey number 5. He was good in the air, on the ground and in attack. All opposition attacks ended at him (Chipilala) and all Wanderers attacks originated from him. He was the heart of the team. He was very disciplined, skillful, humble and an effective leader on the pitch.
Fast track the clock twenty years later, I was honoured at a tender age of 27 years to be the team manager for Wanderers which was then called MTL Wanderers. And guess who the coach was, YES you guessed right, Jack Chamangwana.
You can imagine what a tall order that was for me at that age. I just couldn’t figure out how I could manage and give instructions to this larger than life individual who by then had played for and coached Kaizer Chiefs, coached Simba United of Tanzania, played, captained and coached Malawi National Team, just to mention a few of his achievements.
But to my surprise he became my best friend, advisor and teacher. I owe all my technical knowledge of the game to him. A very humble and down-to-earth character he was. May the soul of Jack Chamangwana rest in peace.-