Ernest Mtawali honoured at Legends Dinner in South Africa

With Screamer

By Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi’s football legend Ernest Wire Mtawali was invited to a special dinner for football greats in South Africa where he was awarded a certificate of recognition and appreciation by Gauteng Premier, Honourable David Makhura, for his outstanding contribution to the game of football and society as a whole.

Under the theme ‘Red Card to Racism, No to Xenophobia — Celebrating Gautengs Football Greats’, Mtawali rubbed shoulders with fellow legends whose contribution to football is immense and remains enshrined in the history of that country’s sports industry.

“It was such an honour to be amongst those legends, some of whom that I last saw in the 80s. We shared our football days, it was really a very exhilarating experience. 

Proud moment

“Almost all of the legends who contributed to what South African football is today were there. What touched me most was to see a legend of 92 years old being honored including former Mamelodi Sundowns coach Screamer Tshabalala.

“My memories with South African football remain so dear to me and when I am called to be part of its celebration, I always feel so much honoured this was. I think it goes to show that other people noted of my contribution,” Mtawali said.

In his heydays, Mtawali — who is now a freelance soccer pundit for Kwese Sports TV, played for Bloemfontein Celtic, Welkom Hearts Ltd, Mamelodi Sundowns, Supersport, Jomo Cosmos, Hellenic, Ajax, Toulouse in France, Newells Old Boys in Argentina, Al Welda and Bassano Virtus. 

Now a soccer pundit on TV

In 2014, Mtawali was tasked to captain a team that played a side that was captained by late Philemon Masinga, in a charity event called the Special Olympics Unified match at the Civo Stadium, which was a curtain raiser of the first-ever African Leaders Forum on Disability which Malawi hosted at the Bingu International Conference Centre at the initiative of former President Joyce Banda.

Masinga, who died last November visited Malawi in the company of Mark Fish. The teams the two captained comprised other former internationals, government officials and Intersexual disability children.

In his heydays

This was the first time the two played against each other in Malawi since 1st June 1996 when Malawi lost 1-0 to South Africa in the 1998 World Cup qualifier at the Kamuzu Stadium.

In September last year, Mtawali was also named together other African stars such as Cameroonians Rigobert Song and Francois Oman Biyik, Nigerian Daniel Amokachi and South African Doctor Khumalo to join the government of Equatorial Guinea, in collaboration with the country’s football federation, to a football match as part of events to mark the 50th independence anniversary celebration of the former Spanish colony.

Other former African football stars who played football at the highest level and achieved undisputable success, were from Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire and will all converge in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.