I never knew George Chamangwana on a first person basis, yet I knew him enough through his good work at Be Forward Wanderers as chairperson of the club.
What struck me most about George’s personality was his simple and modest lifestyle. He was not a man who allowed his position as chairperson to create a barrier with other people, the commoners.
He was a ‘Man of the People’ to borrow from Chinua Achebe. In one moment, he was in a business suit at high tables making executive decisions for the club, the next moment he was at Wanderers Club in a simple shirt, mingling with the Nomads fans and sharing jokes over drinks.
His loyalty to the Nomads family was beyond question. He was with the Nomads as a player and rose through the ranks as an administrator until he was elected chairperson. His election to the position more than once, attests to the fact that the Nomads family fell in love with him. Under his leadership, the Nomads flourished; winning one cup after another.
He was a strong pillar that steered the Nomads through troubled waters. For some time, the Nomads had no sponsor, but George did not flinch. He managed the club through that difficult period and handled a smooth transition when Be Forward was identified as sponsors.
He maintained a cordial working relationship with sports journalists. He was available for interviews when you needed him. His treatment of opposition was also cordial. He never treated rival fans as enemies. Fair play was not just a statute for the pitch but something he practised elsewhere in his life.
He was a man of many acts. Many of us knew him as chairperson of Wanderers only but he had a multi-million kwacha clearing company based in Chitawira Township.
I have come to mourn George and not to praise him. Rest well George and please know that not only Nomads celebrate your life but the entire football fraternity in Malawi.
Perhaps the best way to celebrate his life would be to feast on live football matches on SuperSport this afternoon beginning with the Soweto derby’s new season preamble between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on SuperSport 224.
In Europe, the Emirates Cup is also live on SuperSport 223 beginning with Seville v Lipzieg 14.50 before Arsenal v Benfica at 17.10. n