t’s high time Malawian footballers, who yearn to play professional football in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL), came to terms with an age-old saying ‘not all that glitters is gold’.
While there are notable Malawian soccer stars—such as the likes of the Ernest Mtawalis, the John Madukas, the Patrick Mabedis, the Peter Mpondas and others—who have made it big on the South African soccer scene, many others rue having trekked down to the rainbow country at the lure of greener pastures only to end up heading back home with nothing much to show for their trouble.
In the recent past we have seen so many young and promising players from Malawi’s top-flight league, the TNM Super League, heading south for trials with PSL clubs who sign them after impressing only to end up on the sidelines for weeks, months or the entire season.
Examples abound of such star players, but names of those who vividly come to mind are those of Chiukepo Msowoya, Fischer Kondowe, Joseph Kamwendo, Grant Lungu, just to mention a few. These players went to South Africa at the peak of their careers, but what happened to them?
One wonders whether South African clubs are not hell-bent on destroying Malawian players’ football careers. For what would be the reason for recruiting them into their clubs only to deny them game time and eventually dump them off?
Lately, Joseph Kamwendo, one of the players who were released by their South African clubs, proved what a gem he still is with sterling performances with the Malawi national team as well as his local club Mighty Wanderers, scoring some fantastic goals.
His performance did not escape the prying eyes of some South African scouts who quickly recommended him to Mamelodi Sundowns. There was talk of offering the wonder kid an outright contract and when everything seemed to going the right direction there is an about turn, a sudden change of heart from that side.
According to The Nation of Thursday, the South African PSL side has indefinitely shelved their plans to sign Kamwendo due to what they have described as “technical reasons”.
“Kamwendo is still in the picture, but he is not in the technical panel’s immediate plans...” the paper quotes a Sundowns’ spokesperson as saying from South Africa.
This certainly should be disappointing news to Kamwendo and all those who would have liked him trekking back to South Africa to continue plying his professional trade. But if I were Kamwendo, I would say “never ever again”. After all that treatment, who would really want to go back to that country?
To Kamwendo and, indeed, all those Malawian soccer stars who are lured to go and play professional football in South Africa, my free advice is: chonde, tazisiyeni (just forget it, please). These South African clubs are up to no good for players from Malawi, whatever the reason.
The paper says there are indications that two more teams from South Africa are interested in the natural left-foot midfield maestro. What guarantee is there that this time he will not rot on the bench as was the case when he was with Orlando Pirates?
No, chonde (please) Amalawi, let’s look elsewhere this time. I tell you, these South African clubs are up to no good. It would appear they have a deliberate move to frustrate Malawian players. Why? I don’t know. But all I know, for sure is that not all that glitters is gold. That much I have come to believe after seeing what Malawian soccer stars have gone through in South Africa.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.