In sharp contrast to the glory years of Malawi football in the 1970s and 1980s, there is now a decline of brothers or blood relations in domestic football.
Yet decades ago, for every Bata Bullets, there had to be a Waya family member. Hardware Stars had the Chikafa family. Wanderers tapped its talent from Osman, Malunga and Mpinganjira families.
Blood relations added entertainment to football. Brothers would try to outshine each other. Remember Lawrence Waya, Mabvuto Waya and the late brothers George and Harry being synonymous with Bata Bullets pride?
How about William Green, the late Holman Malunga, Kennedy Malunga and Leonard Malunga across the fence at Yamaha Wanderers, then Limbe Leaf Wanderers, then Telecom Wanderers, and then MTL Wanderers? In Lilongwe, talk was on John and Elia Maduka.
There was too much pride and prestige associated with football. A hand shake with founding president Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda at hilltop Sanjika Palace was all players died for.
But with Malawi football struggling financially, such relations too have declined. There are only six brothers in the TNM Super League. Not surprising considering that most players are almost destitute.
Only seven of the 15 Super League teams are sponsored by mostly government institutions.
Football is no longer a charming beauty to socialisation. Chancellor College sociologist Dr. Pearson Ntata this week could not agree more.
“Footballers may no longer be considered as role models. It could be that the elder ones in families complain about the state of affairs; hence, the young ones are discouraged. There are also now many alternative careers to football,” Ntata noted.
Flames defender James Sangala shared NtataÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s observation: “I pursued a football career because I was envious of my elder brother George whose status changed at Wanderers. That is no longer the case.”
Footballer parent, Yasin Osman was a former great striker for Bullets and Wanderers and the national team in the 1970s but none of his three children and grand children are in football.
“My first born son was a footballer but quit after an injury while the other one was a hockey player. My grandson whose name is also Yasin Osman is talented but his parents told him to concentrate on school first. It works better where there are football academies for children to combine football and education,” said Osman, who at his peak was nicknamed Ã¢â‚¬ËœNjingaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
The few current brothers and blood relations on the domestic football scene include the Super LeagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second top scorer, Gastin Simkonda and his elder brother, Andy for Moyale Barracks.
“I can recapture my best form and be better than him [Gastin], but there is no competition between us. We just encourage each other,” Andy said recently.
Moyale hold domestic footballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s record for being home to more brothers, including the Fukizi brothersÃ¢â‚¬â€Crispin and Clifford. Weld Nkuliwa of Moyale, too, has a brother in Geoffrey at Cobbe Barracks.
Before being fired recently, Blue EaglesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ goalkeeper coach Ganizani Masiye took in coaching his son, Phillip. Jeresi Lufeyo of Big Bullets and his younger brother Kondwani of Azam Tigers have this season exchanged tackles.
They may not be playing in the same team, but while last year belonged to Frank Banda, his brother John has carried over the mantle at Eagles. John was voted Standard Bank Knockout Trophy best player.