IT has been a tough time for our football, in recent weeks, with the game losing some of its finest sons in Rahman Gumbo and George Chigova.
Chigova, who served his country very well as the number one Warriors keeper for the better part of the past decade, died at his base in South Africa.
He was battling heart challenges and died in his sleep at his home.
Chigova was only 32 and, given goalkeepers can play longer than their in-field counterparts, he had, at least, four more years in the top-flight.
We will never know whether he would then have developed to be a very good coach.
Gumbo was a good coach who won league titles in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana.
He had returned to Botswana, which was his second home, for another coaching stint, at the time of his death.
He also served his country well as one of the stars of Reinhard Fabisch’s iconic Dream Team in the ‘90s.
Both Gumbo and Chigova were buried at home.
However, it has not only been doom and gloom for our national game in recent weeks.
Kalisto Pasuwa provided the refreshing story when he guided his Nyasa Big Bullets to success in the Malawian Super League championship race on Sunday.
It’s the fifth successive victory, in the championship race, for the Big Bullets with British coach Mark Harrison, who has been in charge of Wanderers, the other big club in Blantyre, and Dutchman Hendrik Pieter de Jongh, who is in charge of Silver Strikers.
Both Harrison and de Jongh have had stints with local football clubs in the past.
Pasuwa now has won NINE league championships in the NINE seasons he has been in charge of football clubs in Zimbabwe and Malawi.
He won four straight league titles with Dynamos between 2011 and 2014 and has now won five straight league titles with the Bullets in Malawi.
The Bullets finished on 60 points while Silver Strikers were on 57.
Wanderers ended in third place with 55 points.
Pasuwa’s magical touch appeared to have deserted him as his men struggled, in the final countdown, including enduring a difficult month, in which they went four matches without winning, and collecting a paltry three points from a possible 12.
De Jongh’s Silver Strikers, in contrast, were on the charge and three wins on the trot brought them within three points of the champions with a game to play.
But, as he has always done throughout his career, Pasuwa found the formula to seal the championship race with a 1-1 draw against Silver Strikers.
And, as he has usually done throughout his career, Pasuwa didn’t take responsibility for the glory. Instead, he chose to praise his players.
“I am proud of my players. They have been fantastic in every game they have played. They have been fighting,” he said.
“It’s not easy to play five to six games within 12 days.”
Well done Pasuwa.