I must have been seven or eight years old when I came to appreciate football legend Kinnah ‘Electric’ Phiri’s magical skills.
I do not remember the tournament, but it was a cup final between Bata Bullets and Red Lions and the setting was Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
In that age of innocence, I was always up to some mischief and I remember my mother refused to allow me watch the match as a punishment for applying chitedze (buffalo beans) in our Standard 4 classroom, which sent my classmates and the class teacher into a ‘scratching session’ as if they were playing guitars.
But boys will always find a way out and, somehow, I sneaked out through my bedroom window and in no time I was at the stadium where I had to find my way in by jumping the fence.
So, there I was being charmed by Kinnah’s class act, gliding into opposition territory at full pace with the ball firmly under control, a piece of poetry in motion.
He scored a hat-trick and if I am not mistaken, the People’s Team won 4-0.
I went on to watch him in several games and that sudden burst of pace that left his markers trailing in his wake, remain embedded in my memory bank.
No wonder he remains the Flames and albeit Bullets’ all-time leading scorer. The special one whom the Flames and Bullets turned to now and again to move mountains with a touch of his wizardry and an exhibition of magic.
Sadly, we are a nation desperate to forget our sports heroes, but last Friday Kinnah, who scored 71 goals in 117 matches for his country, reminded us that he’s still around by launching his book The Four Legged Wizard and, hopefully, football lovers will support him by buying a copy to appreciate his heroics. Glory be to God.