The First Gentleman, retired Chief Justice Richard Banda SC on Saturday graced the crunch tie between Malawi and Chad at Kamuzu Stadium and witnessed the home team sail through to the next stage of the qualifiers for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Chad was responsible for Malawi’s failure to qualify for this year’s edition in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon when with nothing to play for, the Chadians pinned Malawi back with a stoppage-time equaliser in N’Djamena last October.
The result meant that Malawi failed by a whisker to be among the 16 nations at Africa’s biggest football showpiece and had to contend with painfully watching neighbours Zambia become African champions for the first time.
But on Saturday, Malawi dumped Chad in the competition with a 2—0 win.
The First Gentleman was ushered into the pitch to offer fair play handshakes to the teams by Sports Minister Enock Chihana.
Players said the First Gentleman asked them to have “courage” and be “brave” to overcome Chad. He was later seen celebrating the two goals Malawi scored and the victory at the end of the regulation time.
As a sportsman, Banda was a track and field athlete.
Banda also played football for and was once the captain of the Malawi national team. He earned the football nickname ‘Shoeshine’ because of his dazzling football skills.
He later headed the Football Association of Malawi and also became the President of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association of Malawi.
Malawi must now wait for the draw in July to know the identity of their next opponents in competition.
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