By McLloyd Kudzingo
Just as he often did during playing career with the Flames, Be Forward Wanderers legend Jack Chamangwana brought together the domestic football family as they united to pay their last respects to the former defender, who was laid to rest on Tuesday at Misesa cemetery in Blantyre.
Chamangwana starred for both Flames, Wanderers (then Yamaha Wanderers), and Kaizer Chiefs before he ventured into coaching.
But on Sunday evening, the Be Forward Wanderers Technical Director breathed his last at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) at the age of 61.
He succumbed to high blood pressure.
Hordes of people including president Peter Mutharika and his vice, Saulos Chilima, former teammates, opponents, administrators and supporters alike thronged to Kamuzu Upper Stadium to pay their last respect for Jack who was nicknamed ‘Africa’ by former Zambia legendary soccer commentator Dennis Liwewe.
The club that gave Chamangwana fame as a player, Be Forward Wanderers, led the way in morning their legend and took care of their TD’s funeral expenses.
Wanderers Chairman Gift Mkandawire told mourners that Jack helped the team a lot and the team will always miss his counsel.
“Let me thank everyone who pitched up to give farewell to our Technical Director, who had Wanderers at heart. He was a great guy who was a friend to every body in the team. It’s painful that we have lost him, especially at this time when the season has just begun. To all soccer-loving Malawians, we thank you for being with us at this time of bereavement, ” said Mkandawire.
Just like the Wanderers leadership and supporters, friends, family and former teammates were also by Chamangwana’s final resting place with all those who spoke giving eulogies about his contribution to the game.
Former Flames Coach Kinnah Phiri, who played alongside Chamangwana at national team level, said he had been pained by the demise of a man who served the country both as a player and a coach very well.
Speaking in an interview, Phiri described Chamangwana as a man who apart from football skills was also endowed with good leadership qualities.
“It is so sad that we lost one of our own, who did well both as a player and a coach. He was a good guy, a good brother and a very reliable player for our team back then,” said Phiri.
Chamangwana made his International debut in a friendly match against Kenya in Lilongwe in 1975 at the age of 18 under Brazilian coach Wonder Moreira.
He was part of Malawi’s 1978/79 East and Central Africa Challenge Cup winning squad and retired from National duty in 1985.
Jack Chamangwana played for South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs between 1986 until 1988 before later taking over as the coach.
Kaizer Chiefs owner Kaizer Motoung described Chamangwana who was popularly known as ‘Black Stone’ at Amakhosi as the club’s legend.
“Black Stone made his mark in the Gold and Black colours of Amakhosi. We achieved many accolades during his stint with us. Who will forget Championship winning year 1989 when Black Stone was our coach?
The former Malawi defender also coached Tanzanian club Young Africans before returning home to become Flames’ Assistant Coach.
Jack Africa Chamangwana was appointed Wanderers’ Technical Director in 2016 and he has left as Malawi’s second highest capped player of all times with 133 appearances.
The death of Chamangwana came barely a day after the football fraternity laid to rest Junior Flames’ striker Abel Mwakilama and 9 month after the death of Chamangwana’s nephew, former Be Forward Wanderers Chairman, George Chamangwana.
Meanwhile death has also been announced of former Red Lions and Cobbe Barracks player Sekile Chitete.