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'None of the current Flames players would have made it into my team'

Lilongwe, June 27: Asked what he thought of the current Malawi national football team, fondly known as ‘The Flames’, he gave a damning opinion of it. “None of the players [in the current squad] would have made it into my team,” he said. I had just left my workplace one Thursday afternoon and was on my way home when I met a Malawian I consider to be one of the most astute football managers to have emerged on the local scene. When I saw Elliot Phwitiko as I was nearing the Shoprite building in Lilongwe heading for the Area 25 minibus rank behind the mall, there was no mistaking him, wearing his trademark cap. We last met more than 20 years ago and my heart leapt with joy when I recognized him. We greeted each other warmly, shook hands again and again, oblivious of people passing by. “You, you are still in this world?” an excited Phwitiko said. “I should be asking you the same question, Elliot,” I responded. “It has been a long time. What are you doing?” he said. “I am still with the news agency, but it won’t be long before I bow out,” I said. The exchange of pleasantries over, I told him someone had enquired about him in one of the local newspapers, and that someone had answered that he was in Lusaka, Zambia, on a business trip. “Urgh, it must be Zebs who said I was in Zambia,” Phwitiko said, laughing. Zebs, short for Zebedee, is a popular column that has been appearing in the weekly Malawi News newspaper for years now, whose author is also known by the same pen name.  The person who had asked for Phwitiko’s whereabouts had made the enquiry under Zebedee’s column. I learnt the columnist and Phwitiko have been close friends from their days in college. “He had to know,” Phwitiko said of Zebedee. “He has been my best friend from our days at Chancellor College [of the University of Malawi].” He said it was true he had been in Zambia for about a year and told me of how he had been swindled by his business acquaintances there. And then the conversation turned to Malawi football, in particular that of the Kinna Phiri-Jack Chamangwana era, and also how his MDC United terrorized clubs in the country when it was at its peak. For about 30 minutes, we reminisced about the good old days when Malawi was a force to reckon with in the world of football not only in the region, but across the continent. For those who may not have heard of Phwitiko before, he once coached MDC United in the 1980s. The club disbanded after the dissolution of the Malawi Development Corporation (MDC), their sponsors. MDC United was formed after the disbandment of Berec Power Pack. At its peak under the tutelage of the late Henry Moyo, the club ended one season unbeaten. The record has yet to be surpassed. MDC United boasted some of the country’s stars of the time, including Clifton Msiya, Frank Sinalo, John Dzimbiri, Daniel Dzinkambani, Davious Wasambo, Joel Chitsime, Holman Malunga and Henry Mwale. Under the tutelage of Moyo with Phwitiko as a member of the backroom staff, the star-studded club caused untold havoc in the elite league, beating team after team.  Not surprisingly, a rumour began to circulate in football circles after the club’s sudden rise, that MDC United’s success was down to a steaming pot the team carried in its bus when going to play matches. What prompted the rumour was that every time the team arrived at the venue of their match, the windows of the bus were misted up. And when the players came out, they would be drenched in sweat. To the supporters of other clubs, the players were sweating because of the steam from the alleged magic pot and refused to accept any other explanation. To find out the truth, I asked Moyo one day to respond to accusations that his club used juju. Instead of responding, he suggested I went to his residence in Blantyre’s Nyambadwe suburb on a match day. I learnt that the residence was where the team dressed for games. It was a Saturday and I found players there exercising vigorously, before I joined the team in their bus and headed for the BAT ground. On the bus, Moyo told me to look around and see if there was a pot. I checked everywhere, even under the seats but saw no pot. Before the bus started off, the sweating players closed all windows. No sooner had we left the residence than the inside began to get misty, what with the windows closed and perspiration of the players. I felt uncomfortable throughout the ride, to the players’ amusement. The MDC United team bus was the centre of attraction every time it arrived at the venue of a match. Fans would surround it in the hope of seeing the ‘steaming’ pot.  It was the same on our arrival. “Have you seen the pot?” Moyo asked me when we alighted from the bus. I told him there was no pot and that the rumour about the ‘steaming pot’ was baseless. Moyo explained in the presence of Phwitiko that the idea to close windows was to induce sweat among his players to energise them after warming-up before going into the field of play. Moyo started coaching Berec Power Pack, the precursor to MDC United, before he was later appointed national team trainer. After his departure, Phwitiko took over as coach. “I remember you had a ride with us in the team bus and later proved wrong the ‘steaming pot’ rumour after the article you wrote,” Phwitiko said. “Those were the days when football was thrilling to watch.” But Phwitiko, who is very modest about his achievement when he was a coach, in turn credited MDC United’s fame partly to the late Daudi Chitulu, who was on the team’s coaching panel. He described Chitulu, who initially joined the club as a player from Spearhead football club that the MYP (Malawi Young Pioneers) sponsored, as an excellent coach who understood football very well. “He was thorough in his job and a great tactician,” Phwitiko said. “He would use different formations depending on the opposition.” He said that even John Gilmore, another great coach of his time who was t one time roped in his club, spoke highly of him and predicted he would be a very good coach. “It is sad he died early,” Phwitiko said. “He would have made a very good national coach.” Asked what he thought of the present national team, Phwitiko said some quarters are not happy with his views, but the fact is “none of the players would have made it into MDC United.” He said he believed the team’s poor performance was not because of the lack of resources, giving an example of Lesotho whose football is on the rise despite the country not being rich. Ironically, Phwitiko’s biggest disappointment as MDC United coach was his failure to lure the current national coach Ernest Mtawali to join his club from Hardware Stars. He said the way Mtawali played reminded him of Zambia’s midfielder Charles Musonda who “was a marvel to watch with his ball distribution”. He said he did all he could to poach him without success. Phwitiko said he had succeeded in enticing Joel Chitsime, John Dzimbiri and Holman Malunga from Hard Ware Stars, but when he went for Mtawali, he failed to get him. He said he was defeated by the “diplomacy” of Mlaliki, who was Hard Ware Stars’ General Secretary. “We were at one of the Blantyre hotels holding talks with Hard Ware Stars officials over Mtawali,” he said. “Mlaliki had to kneel down and pleaded with me to leave Mtawali.” Mlaliki, according to Phwitiko, told the meeting that they had bowed to MDC United’s requests to buy some of their players, but asked them to leave Mtawali to them. Phwitiko quoted him as saying they had taught “the boy” how to distinguish the right football boot from the left one and that for that reason, they were not willing to sell him at any cost. Mtawali, 49, later went to South Africa where he played for Bloemfontein Celtic, Orlando Pirates, Ajax Cape Town and Mamelodi Sundowns, establishing himself as one of that country’s best players. He also played for clubs in France, Argentina and Saudi Arabia. “I was defeated by the diplomacy of Mlaliki,” Phwitiko said. “It pains me that I failed to bring Mtawali to MDC United.”


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MASM surplus drops in 2015

  Blantyre, June 27, 2016: One of the country’ medical scheme service providers, Medical Aid Society of Malawi (MASM) has reported a net profit of K471 million in 2015. This is a decrease compared to 2014 net profit of K579 million and attributed low revenue collection to reduction in membership. Masm’ Chief Executive Officer Sydney Chikoti disclosed this on Friday during the organuzation's 32nd Annual General Meeting held in Blantyre. Chikoti said in 2015 many organizations did not register their members with Masm due to economic challenges characterized by steep devaluation of the Malawi kwacha, high inflation and interest rates that affected their operations. “Regardless of the decrease in net surplus due to low membership, Masm feels it made an achievement considering the economic challenges we experienced in 2015 “This has still more positioned the society to strongly expand its footprint and argument capacity in the country,” he said. According to Chikoti, Masm intends to continue strengthening its service provider network across many areas in order to enhance service delivery. “Masm appreciates that the most valuable asset is its people as such the society is in progress of introducing more schemes to meet the expectations of low income earners at affordable medical aid on a sustainable basis,” explained Chikoti. The Masm Chief Executive Officer also revealed that the society has instituted different measures to dol away with fraudsters who are benefiting from its services. “The main challenge that Masm faces is fraud and this fraud, currently at 40 percent is perpetuated by clients themselves. “However, we are doing all we can to end such malpractices. For instance, we have reintroduced membership identity cards and other security measures to address the problem,” he said. Masm is the only medical aid service provider that has been in the country for a long time.


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Good Samaritan Elderly Homes gives hope to the elderly

   Kasungu, June 27, 2016: A local Non Governmental Organization looking at the plight of elderly persons Good Samaritan Elderly Homes has vowed to reach out to many elderly persons who are in need of support in Kasungu and other districts. Good Samaritan Elderly Homes Executive Director Mc Donald Chatewa Banda made the remarks on Friday during a raffle draw and prize presentation in the organisation's on-going competition called 'Tithandize Nkhalamba Zathu'. Banda said Good Samaritan Elderly Homes is supporting the elderly who have no other form of support and are in need of all kinds of help. He said his organisation is doing all it can to help these elderly people that is why it is running the competition in order to raise more funds. "Our organisation is giving support to elderly persons by accommodating those who have no relatives in our homes and we reach out to some of them in their homes or connect them with other organisations, "This is the reason we have this competition so that we raise a lot of money for this initiative," said Banda. Kasungu District Social Welfare Officer John Washali hailed Good Samaritan for their efforts in helping the elderly. "Our office receives a lot of elderly people who seek support a thing which shows that most of them are in need of support. "What Good Samaritan has done is very commendable as they have thought of the challenges our elderly people face. Some don't have shelter, food, clothing and even care but what Good Samaritan has done is one way of showing that these people are being considered," said Washali. The competition has seen people walking away with plasma television a fridge, a laptop, treadle pump and a bicycle among others.


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MWICA students embrace crop diversification and mechanisation

    Kasungu, June 27, 2016: Diploma in Agriculture students at Mwimba College of Agriculture (MWICA) say as agricultural production is becoming very low due to various challenges, it is important to adopt crop diversification and mechanisation. The students made the call Friday at the college's campus in Kasungu during the first ever symposium in the history of MWICA since it was opened in 1999. President of the students' union, Thokozani Matchona said that as students they realise that Malawi's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, however production remains low at small holder farm level and there is need for some innovations. "Agricultural production at smallholder farm level is very low due to climate change effects and lack of extension services on new farming technologies. "It is high time smallholder farmers started using new technologies in farming like improved seeds, climate smart agriculture, use of agricultural machineries and also crop diversification if the country is to be food secure," said Matchona. Matchona added that for them as students based on various knowledge and skills that they have acquired at the school, they strongly believe that they are competent and capable of bringing change in agriculture sector and contribute positively to the economy of this country. At the moment Agricultural Research and Extension Trust (ARET) which runs the college is trying to also move into other crops apart from tobacco and one area it has considered is oil seed crops. ARET's Financial and Administration Manager Jonathan Mwakiyeru said that ARET is making sure that the students at the college also embrace this new direction. "Our curriculum now includes an area of oil seed crops as a subject and also it has an engineering component. So the issue of diversifying to oil seed crops and also the issue of farm mechanisation is taken care of," said Mwakiyeru. Mwakiyeru also urged the students to be more practical as the employers will look at hands on experience than theory. David Luka representing one of the prospective employers Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) and holding a post of Deputy Chief Executive Officer advised the students not only to expect to be employed but should be able to think about entrepreneurship when they graduate. Since its establishment in 1999, MWICA has awarded 600 certificates and 500 diplomas. The theme for the symposium was "Crop diversification and mechanisation: Key to productivity".


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Rainwater harvesting critical in addressing water scarcity

  Lilongwe, June 27, 2016: The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says placing rainwater harvesting technology as a major area of developing new water source would make the water resource sector vibrant in promoting national development. Controller of Agricultural Services in the Ministry Grey Nyandule-Phiri said this on Friday during this year's National Rainwater Harvesting Stakeholders' Conference held at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe. The technology, which involves collecting and storing rainwater from places like rooftops, land surfaces or rock catchments through underground and above ground tanks, water storage ponds and earth dams, is very critical in addressing water scarcity in the country, according to Nyandule-Phiri. “In the current status of the country's water resources, it is only improved and more sustainable resource management interventions like rainwater harvesting that can help Malawi emerge from her current problems of water deprivation,” he said. He further said that serious water resources degradation in catchments and increasing water demand due to increasing population pressure has left the country with no choice but to look for innovative means like rainwater harvesting technologies to cushion itself from the adverse effects of water scarcity. Phiri then called for coordination of various interest groups so that the development and distribution of these technologies should be well known and documented to provide guidance and information to effectively plan, monitor and integrate the rainwater subsector activities into the other programmes of water sanitation. Said he: “There is a need for strategic partnership in developing proposals and implementation of rainwater harvesting technologies in order for the general public to embrace them for their own needs.” He, however, said that promotion of the technologies should also give more attention to some critical aspects like health implications of harvested water and water quality management. During the conference, experts highlighted a number of critical factors affecting the water sector and provided some viable solutions towards addressing the same. Erratic climatic patterns resulting in flooding and drought has left Malawi reeling from the adverse effects of food insecurity and water scarcity. The shortage of water resources has seen urban areas like Lilongwe City subjected to water rationing at least three times a week. The adoption of rainwater harvesting technologies is seen as one way of providing viable solutions to the emerging water crisis threatening urban and rural populations in efforts to achieve agricultural productivity for their livelihoods as well as access potable water. Apart from above ground and underground tanks, other technologies promoted for rainwater harvesting designed to alleviate the impacts of droughts include conservation agriculture, box ridges, contour ridging, terracing and infiltration pits. These technologies help to increase water percolation into the soil and also contribute to reduced soil erosion, according to experts. This year's conference, which drew participants from the water sector, academia and interest groups, was held under the theme “The role of rainwater harvesting in addressing water scarcity in Malawi. The Rainwater Harvesting Association of Malawi (RHAM) organised the conference with funding from the Soil Health Consortium of Malawi (SOHCOM).


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'None of the current Flames players would have made it into my team'

MASM surplus drops in 2015

Good Samaritan Elderly Homes gives hope to the elderly

MWICA students embrace crop diversification and mechanisation

Rainwater harvesting critical in addressing water scarcity

National News

DPP fulfilling its Manifesto, Mutharika

DPP fulfilling its Manifesto, Mutharika

      Mulanje, June 27, 2016: State President Professor Peter Mutharika says his Government is fulfilling what it promised in its manifesto during ...

Mutharika assures construction of Neno road

Mutharika assures construction of Neno road

      Neno, June 24: President of the Republic of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Muthalika says his government will make sure that the Neno- Tsanga...

MACRA launches 5 year strategic plan on ICT

MACRA launches 5 year strategic plan on ICT

      Blantyre, June 23, 2016: The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has launched 2016-2020 Strategic Plan with a commitment to en...

Political News

Lilongwe block leaders not ready to relinquish power

Lilongwe block leaders not ready to relinquish power

Lilongwe, June 14, 2016: The Lilongwe City Mayor Willy Chapondera has trashed allegations made by block leaders that the resolution of annulling their...

‘Absence of spent conviction law denies ex-convicts new life’

‘Absence of spent conviction law denies ex-convicts new life’

Lilongwe, June 14, 2016: The Law Commission said on Tuesday that the absence of legislation on Spent Conviction is undermining the reintegration and i...

Opposition finance spokespersons respond to budget statement

Opposition finance spokespersons respond to budget statement

Lilongwe, June 14, 2016: Spokespersons on Finance for opposition political parties in Parliament on Monday began responding to a budget statement pres...

Health News

BEAM crowns Lilongwe Academy the cleanest school

BEAM crowns Lilongwe Academy the cleanest school

      Blantyre, June 27:  Lilongwe Academy private school has won the first prize in the My Clean School my Pride competition that has been running for the past year among private schools under the Independent Schools Association of Mala...

Rumphi to benefit from Sanitation Business Project

Rumphi to benefit from Sanitation Business Project

      Rumphi, June 23, 2016: Rumphi District will benefit from a sanitation business project called Sanitation Business Model, which is aimed at equipping poor households to have sustainable sanitation facilities so that they attain an o...

Sports News

Lack of composure on goal worries Karonga United coach

Lack of composure on goal worries Karonga United coach

    Karonga, June 24: Northern Region based super league side Karonga United have attributed their barren spell in front of goal to lack of self-confidence and maturity among the players. The Crocodiles of Karonga have only found the net...

Karonga Stadium on track for completion

Karonga Stadium on track for completion

      Karonga, June 24: Authorities at Karonga District Council insist construction work of the multi-million Karonga Community Stadium is in progress despite apparent lack of activity at the site. The statement of hope comes amid outcr...

Development News

21 NGOs to undergo training under Social Impact Incubator

21 NGOs to undergo training under Social Impact Incubator

  Lilongwe, June 19, 2016: Twenty one Malawian Non Governmental Organizations have been chosen by the America’s Segal Family Foundation to undergo a seven month social impact incubator training to increase capacity and traction to deliver the full impact of their missions in the country. Speaking at the launch of Social Impact...

China to Implement Feasibility Study on Community Technical Colleges, Mzuzu Youth Centre

China to Implement Feasibility Study on Community Technical Colleges, Mzuzu Youth Centre

    Finance Minister, Gondwe and Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Zhang Qingyang exchange letters for the Feasibility Study on the Projects of Community Technical Colleges and Mzuzu Youth Centre-(c)  Abel Ikiloni Lilongwe, January 22, 2016: The government of Malawi and Republic of China on Thursday signed and exchanged notes which paved way for...

Business News

Government to collect tax from mobile money service

Government to collect tax from mobile money service

      Lilongwe, June 23: Members of parliament (MPs) have asked government to collect taxes from the mobile money services providers. Speaking during the passing of payment system bill Member of Parliament from Dowa East Richard Banda, ...

Salima GBI projects impress Chinese investors

Salima GBI projects impress Chinese investors

  Lilongwe, June 23, 2016: The visiting Chinese investors have described the imposing sugar factory and fruit production venture, Malawi Mangoes, in Salima, as evidence of the country’s potential for investment. Director General of Agricu...

Entertainment News

Woods lauds Tay Grin on entrepreneurship

Woods lauds Tay Grin on entrepreneurship

  Lilongwe, 24 June 2016: Courtesy of Mhub, the British Embassy on Wednesday hosted Lilongwe Pitch Night – June edition at British Embassy offices in Lilongwe where guest speaker CEO of AJ Africa Consulting James Woods Nkhutabasa praised r...

Original Passenger to drop first Album this year

Original Passenger to drop first Album this year

Blantyre, June 19, 2016: A Blantyre based artist, Christopher Mberenga aka Original Passenger has revealed he will release his first album this year. Original Passenger is an artist who also features in the 17 artists’ song titled ‘Yahwe ...

Agriculture News

Rainwater harvesting critical in addressing water scarcity

Written By Macneil Kalowekamo on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 11:35
Rainwater harvesting critical in addressing water scarcity

  Lilongwe, June 27, 2016: The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says placing rainwater harvesting technology as a major area of developing new water source would make the water resource sector vibrant in promoting ...

Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation launches agricultural innovation event

Written By Macneil Kalowekamo on Saturday, 25 June 2016 10:21
Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation launches agricultural innovation event

  Lilongwe, June 23, 2016: The Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation (Most) on Thursday launched an initiative in agricultural innovations from a farmer perspective as one way of promoting productivity in the oilseed sector. Speaking at t...

MP Kandodo says not afraid of Section 65

Kasungu, July 11, 2012, Mana: Kasungu Central Member of Parliament Ken Kandodo said recently he is not afraid of Section 65 challenging that he will maintain his seat should Speaker of

Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda invoke the anti-defection law.

 

Kandodo who is also Malawi’s Defence Minister is among former ruling Democratic Progressive

Party (DPP) MPs who ditched their party following death of President Bingu wa Mutharika and

announced their allegiance to President Joyce Banda and her now ruling People’s Party (PP).

 

Speaker Chimunthu Banda is yet to act on a petition by DPP to have seats of all its former MPs

who are now on government side declared vacant for allegedly crossing the floor.

 

However, Kandodo told a development rally at Lisasadzi in the district that he is confident of retaining his Kasungu Central seat in a by-election in the event that it is declared vacant.

 

“Even if elections are held today or next week, I’ll still go back to parliament. As an MP I’m still

enjoying support from the constituency and the general public,” he declared.

 

Quizzed if by declaring allegiance to PP-led government means he has effectively joined

the party Kandodo insisted that he is an independent member of parliament but supporting government.

 

 

 

He was on the other hand non-committal on possibilities of joining the party in future or running on its ticket in 2014 general elections only saying “politics is dynamic, you never know what will

 

happen tomorrow.” He said the nation will be advised when time comes.

 

 

 

“I am an independent MP but supporting government, that is my official status in parliament

 

now,” he clarified.

 

Features

'None of the current Flames players would have made it into my team'

'None of the current Flames players would have made it into my team'

Lilongwe, June 27: Asked what he thought of the current Malawi national football team, fondly known as ‘The Flames’, he gave a damning opinion of it. “None of the players [in the current squad] would have made it into my team,” he said. I had just left my workplace one Thursday afternoon and was o...

Weather

 

                       
 

Image Gallery

  • Mchesi Primary School pupils exercise their right to education during solidarity march

    Mchesi Primary School pupils exercise their right to education during solidarity march (C) Stanley Makuti

  • Human rights solidarity march starts from HRCC Offices

    Human rights solidarity march starts from HRCC Offices (C) Stanley Makuti

  • People carrying placards during march

    People carrying placards during march (C) Stanley Makuti 

  • President Peter Mutharika confers with the former Presidet of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda during the wedding ceremony at Umodzi Park

    President Peter Mutharika confers with the former Presidet of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda during the wedding ceremony at Umodzi Park in Lilongwe (C) Stanley Makuti

  • President Mutharika and the First Lady present a gift to the newly wedded Couple

    President Mutharika and the First Lady present a gift to the newly wedded Couple (C) Stanley Makuti

Education News

MWICA students embrace crop diversification and mechanisation

MWICA students embrace crop diversification and mechanisation

    Kasungu, June 27, 2016: Diploma in Agriculture students at Mwimba College of Agriculture (MWICA) say as agricultural production is becoming very low due to various challenges, it is important to adopt crop diversification and mechanis...

Quote

"An education that does not transform your life or the life of others is a wasted education."


- President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

General News

MASM surplus drops in 2015

MASM surplus drops in 2015

  Blantyre, June 27, 2016: One of the country’ medical scheme service providers, Medical Aid Society of Malawi (MASM) has reported a net profit of K4...

Visit Malawi

           www.visitmalawi.mw

Environment News

Religion News

SCOAN, Emmanuel TV deplores distribution of its items for personal gain

SCOAN, Emmanuel TV deplores distribution of its items for personal gain

Blantyre: June 12, 2016: The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) and the Emmanuel Tv team has deplored the distribution of morning water and other...