COSAFA region mourns Jack ‘Africa’ Chamangwana

Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) has joined the region in mourning the demise of Malawi’s football legend Jack ‘Africa’ Chamangwana.

The former Kaizer Chiefs coach and player passed away on Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre just five days after celebrating his 61st birthday.

Chamangwana was Malawi’s second most capped player with 133 appearances after Young Chimodzi.

He captained Malawi at the team’s maiden African Cup of Nations (Afcon) final in Ivory Coast in 1984 and returned to the Afcon finals in 2010 as Malawi technical director with Kinnah Phiri as head coach and Chimodzi as his assistant.

A statement from COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes, said the regional football governing body was saddened by the death of one of its own.

The statement read: “The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) is deeply shocked and saddened by the passing of Mr. Jack Chamangwana, who was one of the greatest former football players from Malawi and also coached a number of teams.

“The entire COSAFA family hereby extends its deepest sympathies to the bereaved family, FAM [Football Association of Malawi] and the entire football fraternity in Malawi for the demise of one of our own.”

In 1986 Chamangwana left for South Africa to join Kaizer Chiefs where he played for three seasons before ascending to head coach in 1988.

He was succeeded by Jeff Butler whom he replaced again in 1989 for a short stint before returning home to coach his former club Limbe Leaf Wanderers (now Be Forward Wanderers).

Kaizer Chiefs chairperson Kaizer Motaung also sent eulogy for Chamangwana, who was given the moniker ‘The Black Stone’ in his hey days at Amakhosi.

“His was a life of football that epitomized success considering his achievements during his playing stint at Kaizer Chiefs from 1986 until 1988. I am glad that he returned to his native country to serve Malawian football as technical director for Malawian heavyweights Be Forward Wanderers,” he said.

“The Black Stone’ endeared himself in the hearts and minds of Kaizer Chiefs supporters and South African football fraternity at large. He was loved, indeed! His contribution speaks volumes and is cast in stone in the history books of Kaizer Chiefs and football in general. We won several accolades during his time at Kaizer Chiefs and most notably winning the League Championship under his wing as our coach in 1989.”

Motaung also recalled his last interaction Chamangwana last year when he invited him to watch the Soweto Derby.

He said: “In trying to console myself, I recall vividly March 2017 when we invited the late Jack to the Soweto Derby. I relived the glory days with him and enjoyed lunch together. Little did I know his visit was his goodbye. So sad. During his visit, he shared his knowledge of football and told me he watched every Kaizer Chiefs match on Dstv. I’m glad to have shared in his life and times. What a great gentleman!

“The Black Stone may be gone but, there’s so much to cherish in his memory. I wish God will grant you the spirit to forge ahead under the circumstances. His well lived life is worth a celebration. It is time to accept that the ‘Black Stone’ has left us with fond memories. It is difficult I know! Rest assured, God will not desert you especially during the dark days. ‘The Black Stone’ will be resurrected to live peacefully in heaven.”

FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the tributes pouring in for Chamangwana speaks volume of the kind of person he was apart from being a player and coach.

“In him we have lost a pillar,” he said.

Yesterday, hundreds of soccer lovers, players and officials bid farewell to Chamangwana yesterday.

The funeral programme started at his home in Magalasi, Blantyre where Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika and several government officials and Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima and Malawi National Council of Sports chairperson James Chuma were in attendance.

From the vigil house, Chamangwana’s remains were taken to the Kamuzu Stadium upper ground in Blantyre, where football fans had a chance to bid farewell to the former Flames defence pillar.

After the sermon at the stadium, Chamangwana’s remains headed for his final resting place at Misesa cemetery in Blantyre.

Chamangwana, who came from the area of Paramount Chief Gomani in Ntcheu District, is survived by a wife and three kids.

Chamangwana coached Malawi between 1998 and 1999 and was appointed technical director between 2009 and 2013 after his return from Tanzania where he had a short stint with Young Africans.

His last job in Flames technical panel was between 2014 and 2015 when he was Chimodzi’s assistant.

He was Wanderers TD at the time of his death.

By Joy Ndovi