Sunday, 23 October 2016


I started the 22-day challenge, complements of Rex Harawa PhD, the bespoke gentleman.
Today I nominate Azikiwe Mussa-Mbewe Snr aka Ziggy. Ziggy and I go way back. We bough out our first jalopies during similar times; he had his green Nissan double cabin which gave us many joyful rides especially along the dirty and bumpy Midima road. We also stayed next door in Chitawira. I met Ziggy when I joined a ESCOM as a graduate trainee engineer. It was in fact Ziggy who introduced me to football administration. Hitherto, I was preoccupied with union politics. Ziggy was our right hand man in the union at ESCOM House. So one day Ziggy came another woman, who for now must remain anonymous, and requested if I could run for the chairmanship of ESCOM Football Club which had just been promoted to the Premier League. Now tribute must be paid here to one Charles Twalibu. He was the man who managed the team when it was in Lilongwe before its promotion and its adoption by the parent company. Twalibu had built a core team with the likes of Rhodric Sambani, Steve Gwetsa, Aubrey Nankhuni, Elia Kananji among others. But to do well in the top league needed more. Management decided to move the team to the headquarters and try to include players from other ESCOM clubs in the districts. Despite my youth, Ziggy thought I could contribute in this massive undertaking at the helm. Typical of a hot-headed young lad in his mid twenties; I dived in full throttle. Being young and naive I combined being a Union President with a Football Chairman. My social life was devastated. But it comes with the territory. Luckily for me Charles Twalibu agreed to serve as my vice and helped me in giving me the basic structure of what football administration entailed and introducing me to the "Who is Who" of Malawi football. Ziggy was my Team Manger. His vice was Oscar Chiotha. The dream Team was complete. We went to all ESCOM local teams and recruited their top players. We then put up an ambitious 5-year business plan to turn the team into a professional outfit and a powerhouse worth its name. Within the first 2 years, the results started coming in. It was Ziggy who suggested that the name be later changed to Super ESCOM. At that time we were sweeping every silverware with class and ease. Ziggy said we were just Super. Later on Fanuel Nkhono joined us after Charles Twalibu had excused himself. His addition proved a blessing to us! He had just returned from him studies in the UK and had many ideas on how to professionalise the club. I was happy to later hand over the chairmanship to Fanuel when I decided to take a break from football administration. A great visionary, Fanuel is. But apart from this; there are two further things that I remember Ziggy for. First was his ability to spot and sniff talent. It was Ziggy who told me that he had heard of rumours than an exciting young player Peter Mponda, then of the famous Banyamulenge had been left out on promotion to the senior side; Bata Bullets. Ziggy asked me to come and watch this exciting talent. I did and we signed him forthwith and he immediately became our defence pillar showing rare qualities of leadership and a football brain for such a young player. We agreed to build a team around him. One afternoon, Ziggy told me he had heard of stories of an exciting left foot back at Chiradzulu Secondary School. We drove there and signed the same afternoon, Emmanuel Chipatala to ESCOM FC.Then Ziggy told me of a striker in Nchalo. Nchalo had been relegated from the then Premier League but he said it had some good players worth seeing. We drove down the winding road to the hot bed of Illovo to watch their local game. We found our player, but he could not come unless we got his brother too. His brother was a midfielder. We already had a packed midfield, but we decided to gamble. That is how we got 
Aggrey and Chimwemwe Kanyenda. And the gamble paid dividends too! Both players proved their worth. Now how did Aggrey get the nickname Prado? That was Oscar Chiotha. When Nchalo FC demanded a rather high amount for the 2 players (especially Aggrey); his reaction quoted in the local press was "Ndi Prado, chani?" Indeed at that time, the price bring demanded was equivalent to a Toyota Prado TX at the dealers. We had the players but we still had a coach-player situation. Not ideal. We went for the jugular. We engaged the legend himself; Yasin Osman as Coach and Dean Pinto as Technical Director. I can say those were the times when we did implement transformational football management. Our players were well looked after. Well paid. All of a sudden we had transfer request from other top players from other clubs. But our philosophy was to have organic growth. And we were the team which the national coach looked to for his selection. We provided a platform for players to shine and express themselves. Most players eventually went on to other teams; but the lack of pressure and the freedom that they enjoyed at ESCOM FC is most likely unparalleled. Interesting both Ziggy and I are no longer part of the ESCOM family but the memory of what we shared goes deep. Of course ESCOM FC is now disbanded and usually when ESCOM is mentioned these days; it is not in the positive sense. But history cannot be changed. And here we are talking about ESCOM FC, to be precise. And how did I end up being a Chairman of then Bata Bullets FC (later Bullets FC), it was Ziggy again with the same unnamed lady and her unnamed brother; people I respect and have known for a long time. There I had the chance to reunite with my Captain Fantastic Peter Mponda (who I had allowed to leave so he could soar to greater heights) and the left footer who could play as a winger or left back but whose free kick was a hammer blow that almost always resulted in a goal; Emmanuel Chipatala. There were other greats I found and left at Bullets, but that chapter is for another day. Ziggy, thank you for shining the light in my life. Thank you for your belief and unwavering support. You are a man I respect.
The rules are simple:
Once you are nominated, your 22 days start.
Every day you must record yourself doing 22 pushups. Try your best to reach 22. If it means doing assisted push ups on your knees,or stop to take a break, that's cool, but make sure to get them all done, all 22 push ups in one video.

From your Day 1, every day after you do your work-out, you must still nominate a different person. Try to choose people you think need this. In case you have already embarked on this or a similar challenge, spread the love, pass the challenge on.

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