Why legend Peterkins Kaira was nicknamed ‘Beirut’ in his playing days

A good number of legendary Flames players had labels or nicknames attached to them in their playing days; Kinnah Phiri was called “Electric”, Jack Chamangwana was nicknamed “Africa” and interestingly, Peterkins Kaira was nicknamed “Beirut”.

Former Malawi national football team star, Peterkins Kaira

Why Kinnah Phiri and Jack Chamangwana were nicknamed as such will be subject for another day. In this piece, my focus is on Peterkins Kaira.

I still remember watching Peterkins Kaira at Zomba Community Centre Ground way back when I was a small boy. That time he was playing for Civil Service United which many people simply called Civo. I also still remember that dribbling wizard Austin Nyondo was also in that same team.

But my fresh memories about Peterkins Kaira are those of 1988 when I was in Standard 8 at Bwaila Primary School in the city Zomba. This is the year when the Malawi national football team became champions of the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup after beating Zambia 3-1 in the finals at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

Malawi’s three goals were scored by Holman Malunga, Peterkins Kaira and Young Chimodzi Senior (I can’t remember the order). The Zambian team had players like Effort Chabala (GK), Kapambwe Mulenga and Beston Chambeshi, just to mention a few. I was following the game on the only radio station at that time and the commentators were Steve Liwewe Banda (English) and Geoffrey Msampha (Chichewa).

But how did the nickname “Beirut” for Kaira come about?

Well, I happen to be on the same WhatsApp group with this legend. The group comprises sports journalists, sports administrators and sports fanatics.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, amidst another subject under discussion, Voice of Livingstonia sports reporter and presenter, Allan Nyirenda, quizzed Kaira on how this nickname came about. The humble and outspoken legend told Allan that he was busy but Allan should come remind him about the issue in the evening. I too became very eager to learn the genesis of the name “Beirut” as bestowed on Kaira in those days.

As usual, in the evening, the group was full of conversation on other issues. Allan Nyirenda sprang out from his shell to remind the legend about the nickname. It’s possible that some of you reading this piece already know how it came about but I, together with many other members of that group, learnt about it from Kaira himself on Wednesday evening.

“In 1982 when I joined Limbe Leaf Wanderers, I was just the fittest player in the Blantyre and Districts Football League (BDFL) until I moved to Lilongwe in 1984. And every weekend we used to have two games,” began Kaira.

“In each game, the teams we played against always suffered serious injuries like bone cracks, twists of ankles, head cuts, serious feet cuts and bruises; all because of the six studded boots that I used to wear. Even during a 1:30 pm match at BAT Ground, I used to wear six studded boots,” continued the legend.

He went on to explain that then one weekend while at the national team camp, his team played Admarc Tigers and Berec Power Pack. He injured Jonathan Billie (Admarc Tigers) and Frank Sinalo (Berec Power Pack) in those two encounters.

Back in camp on Monday, it is Maloya Siliya who started calling Kaira “Beirut”. That time, explained Kayira, there was an ongoing war in Beirut, Lebanon and that morning on international news five people were killed in Beirut. Coincidentally, five players also got injured the previous weekend due to Kaira;s hard tackling.

When Jack Chamangwana jokingly asked what had happened to Jonathan and Frank, Maloya Siliya said, “anapita ku Beirut ndiye anakumana nazo. Paja kwafa 5. Ndiye wopita kwa Peterkins adziwe kuti wapita ku Beirut” (They went to Beirut and fell into big trouble. Remember five have been killed. Anybody tussling with Peterkins should know he has gone to Beirut).

“And that was the birth of this name. The next weekend I saw in the newspaper Daring Chirwa ‘of Daily Times ]writing Peterkins ‘Beirut’ Kaira,” concluded the legend.

Well, that’s it about the famous nickname “Beirut”.

It is my hope and prayer that I can find time to learn more about Kinnah, Jack, and of course nicknames like “Buruchaga” which was bestowed upon late Frank Mtawali, “4 wheel drive ” on Dickson Mbetewa, “Nguli” on Jonathan Billie and many more from our legends.

When I get enough information about these others, I will surely come back to share with you, one at a time.

Once again, allow me to salute Peterkins “Beirut” Kaira for today.

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Also find out why Michael Kaimfa was nicknamed Mogadishu

Sunday October 12 Mighty Limbe Leaf wanderers won won the BAT Trophy after beating silver strickrs by 1-0 at the Vivo a goal scored by Kannock Bruno Munde from 25 metres drive eastern part of civo stadium from the northern goal. Line up for wanderers 1,shubelt kuwali,2 Daviie mwandidya 4,chiukepo mhango,5,jack chamangwana,6 Frank kamoyo,7 kannock munde 8 king,maloya siliya was good at free kicks that’s was nicknamed king,9 sito mfarinya 10,Ricky mabomba Phuka,13 Eugenio fesani,14 sidreck Nankhumwa,coach was Robert Banda team manager was Dumbo Lemani, silver strickrs I’m goals Donnex Gondwe 2 stain chirwa,3 Mathew phiri , 7 young chimbodzi,9… Read more »
Angoni apaphata

Euginio Disco Fesani


Saturday 19 the November Malawi won the east and central challenge cup,first goal from frank sinslo,second by Peter kings kaira third by young chimodzi .do you know that Malawi failed to participate the the 1987 east and central senior challenge cup in Asmara Ethiopia cos of the death of mayor of Blantyre councillor late kumichongwe who was the leader of Malawi team,in Asmara Ethiopia

George Matondo
Point of correction the writer, I still remember that day like you I was in my early teens but Holman Malunga only supplied a cross which was scored by Frank Sinalo thru a header commentary done by Steve Liwewe Banda and the Late Jeffery Msampha, the second goal was scored by Peterkins Kaira from a throw in by Gilbert Chirwa but Holman Malunga had a hand in it again and then the third goal was scored by Young Chimodzi. I was 14 years in 1988 but this was 19th November 1988,we were coming from Friendly school soccer on that day… Read more »
I also agree with you,in that year i was 12 years old and i use to follow soccer on MBC RADIO.In that year Zambia had Dennis Liwewe as their commentator and we had Steve Liwewe Banda and Geofrey Msampha.Zambia scored earlier and they almost send their aeroplane for the trophy until in the dying minutes Frank ‘PILATO’ Sinalo scored to make it 1:1.By then people were even leaving the Stadium thinking we have lost the game.Then the game went to extra time and Malawi scored two goals through Peterkins Kaira and Young Chimodzi.The third goal scored by Chimodzi i was… Read more »
Andrew Kalambo

Very Correct. I was 15 years old and I was in STD 8. It was a very interesting game live on MBC Radio. The only radio station.


I was very good football follower in those day,it will take a century to players of kaira callber tigers had Clement chimbalame mkwalura,Charles all rounder phiri, wanders had Ricky mabomba phuka, maloya king siliya,euginio disco fesani,bullets had Lawrence lule eaya,harry barbed wire, bereck power park had frank pilato sinalo,john big Joe dzimbiri, C CD C my team had Richard valva potani, Oscar scazo Kananga,Dickson landrover mbetewa


Some good memoirs indeed. Please share more, as promised.


Chimbalame was clement nkwalula
John dzimbiri was big joe


I think commentators were Elias Kapangama and Pearson Chunga. The goalkeeper John Dzimbiri’s nickname was Chimbalame


i think the first goal was scored by the late Frank Sinalo, not Homaln Malunga. Holman just provided the cross/assist.

Point of Order

Frank Sinalo scored the first goal in 1988’s final of East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup at Kamuzu Stadium. The writer of this article has mistakenly credited the goal to Holman Malunga

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