Celebrated former national soccer team coach Henry â€˜Mbwangaâ€™ Moyo died on Friday evening following a kidney failure at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the capital, Lilongwe.
Moyo died on the eve of the Flamesâ€™ decisive 2013 Afcon qualifier against Ghanaâ€™s Black Stars.
His eldest son Kelvin, confirmed the retired tacticianâ€™s death on Saturday, saying he died at around 7pm.
â€œHe has not been well for some time and he was admitted to Daeyang Luke Hospital in Kanengo [Lilongwe] and he was referred to KCH a few days ago, but his condition had worsened.
â€œHe was put on oxygen at around 5pm and he died two hours later,â€ said Kelvin.
Kelvin said the family was yet to come up with concrete burial arrangements as they were still waiting for his brotherâ€™s arrival from the United Kingdom.
â€œIn the interim, the arrangement is that the body will be laid to rest tomorrow [today] at his home village Mphomwa in Traditional Authority Chuluâ€™s area in Kasungu. But this is subject to confirmation,â€ said Kelvin.
Moyoâ€™s Flames exploits
Moyo, who was in his mid 60s, delights in the glory of being one of the best coaches to have taken charge of the Flames, guiding them to their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations qualification in 1984 before government hired Danny McLennan who led the team at the actual tournament in Cote dâ€™Ivoire.
That was not all. Moyo was also in charge of the Flames when they qualified for All Africa Games in 1987 after beating Zambiaâ€™s Chipolopolo back-to-back.
However, his contract was not renewed and late Reuben Malola took over the mantle and led the team to finish third at the tournament in Kenya.
Moyo was also the first Malawian to take charge of the Flames in the 1980s.
He was the deputy to Wonder Moreira when Malawi qualified for the finals of the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup in 1975. He was also the deputy national coach to Ted Powell when the Flames twice won the tournament in 1978 and the following year.
Moyo also turned the disbanded MDC United into a force to reckon with as coach during the era of late Frank â€˜Pilatoâ€™ Sinalo, late Clifton Msiya, late Holman Malunga, late Davious Wasambo and Daniel Dzinkambani.
Flames legendsâ€”current national coach Kinnah Phiri, his deputy Young Chimodzi, technical adviser Jack â€˜Africaâ€™ Chamangwana and Ernest Mtawali described him as a true hero of Malawian football.
â€œHenry was a special person in as far as Malawi football is concerned because his achievements speak for him.
â€œI remember him as a team-mate and later on my national team assistant coach. He was a motivator and a very cheerful man. He succeeded in taking the Flames to Afcon when a band of foreign coaches had failed. We have lost a great man,â€ said Kinnah.
On his part, Chamangwana who was the Flames captain when Moyo was in charge said: â€œI would write a book about Henry. He was a wonderful person both as a person and a coach.
â€œI still remember this other time during national team training when Ernest Mtawaliâ€”who was then a youngsterâ€”turned me inside out with a dribble and I fell down and Henry laughed his lungs out and immediately ended the session there and then, saying he could not believe what he had seen.
â€œSo, apart from being a good coach, he was such a lively person. I fondly remember that it was under his guidance that we first qualified for the Nations Cup, but we could not make the grade in Cote dâ€™Ivoire because McLennan spoiled the team by dropping good players such as Stock Dandize, Lawrence Waya and Jimmy Mphamba.
â€œI hope government will be able to recognise him as a hero,â€ said Chamangwana.
And speaking from Johannesburg, Mtawali said: â€œHe is one of the Malawi football heroes. He drafted me into the senior national team when I was a teenager and did a lot to polish my skills. I will always remember him as being a father figure and a good coach.â€
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, who is still mourning his fiancee, described it as a shock.
â€œI am very saddened because we looked up to him for guidance and advice. It is a big loss not only to the soccer fraternity, but the nation as a whole and my thoughts are with the bereaved family because he was an important figure in as far as our football is concerned. May his soul rest in peace,â€ said Nyamilandu.
Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chihana also paid tribute to Moyo.
â€œIt is a big loss to the nation considering his achievements and as government, we are very saddened by his demise. Moyo was not just another coach, but an achiever who did a lot to develop the game,â€ said Chihana.
Moyo is survived by a wife and four children.