By McLloyd Kudzingo
In commemoration of former Flames Under 20 forward Abel Mwakilama, Chitipa United FC has announced the players’ number 7 jersey at the club will be retired. Mwakilama died at the age of 18 on April 20 in Portugal where he was playing professional football, after a short battle with malaria.
Speaking after Northern Region Football League match between Chitipa and Lufwita FC, Chitipa General Secretary Pickford Kamanga said the team has decided to honor the late striker in this way because they believe no one can replace him at the club.
“Nobody can replace Abel and his jersey will never be worn by anyone else again,” said Kamanga
Kamanga said “Abel did a very good job for the club especially in 2016 season when he helped the team to earn super league promotion. He was an excellent player and we will forever remember him,”
Abel Mwakilama helped Chitipa United to earn TNM Super League Promotion when he finished as top goal scorer with 38 goals in the 2016 Simama Northern Region Football League.
Mwakilama’s number 7 jearsy will be the first one to be retired by a Malawian team. Recently Italian clubs Fiolentina and Cagliari retired their Number 13 Shirt in memory of David Astori who was found dead last month.
Other notable jersey to have beem retired is Number 23 at Manchester City which was worn by Marc-Vivien Foe from Cameroon.
Number 1 jersey for former Orlando Pirates captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa and Number 22 jersey for the team’s former striker Lesley Manyathela who died in 2014 and 2003 respectively, were also retired.
Meanwhile the body of Abel Mwakilama will arrive at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on Friday and will be laid to rest in his home district of Karonga.