The Malawi women football fraternity has been mourning the untimely death of Blantyre Zero coach Mphatso Kumwenda.
Nicknamed Morinho, the admirable women football coach succumbed to pneumonia on Sunday afternoon at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre after complaining for a few days.
“He started complaining last week while at a football match, he was later taken to Queens where he was admitted. We went to cheer him up and he looked well. When we got message yesterday that he is no more nobody believed the news,” bemoaned Patricia Damalekani, secretary general for the Peter Mutharika Southern Region Women’s Football League.
Kumwenda, aged 34, has been the brains behind Blantyre Zero Women Football club’s success. He has steered the team to several accolades both at regional and national level since he took over as a coach some years ago.
Just last month, he led the Ndirande based team to victory in the K500 000 Donna’s Eggs Southern Region Women Football Trophy after beating Envirom 4-0 in an exciting Blantyre derby final which was played at Chiwembe Technical Ground.
Reports reaching Nyasa Times indicate that late Kumwenda has died a few days after football authorities identified him to be the head coach for the national women football.
“It is a big blow to women football. Mphatso committed his life to assist in the progression of women football in the country. He has shaped many girls to become soccer stars, not only for Blantyre Zero but even in several other teams he has voluntarily helped, we will really miss him, may his soul rest in peace,” mourned Catherine Chikandula, chairperson of Peter Mutharika Southern Region Women Football League.
Late Mphatso’s association with women football started in the early 1990s together with his cousin Gusto Sapangwa (one of Malawi’s first women football coaches) when his sister Maggie Chombo-Sidik, the country’s first women football star, was just emerging on the soccer scene.
He was laid to rest Monday afternoon at HHI cemetery in Blantyre where hundreds of soccer lovers and players paid their last respects to the young man who dedicated his life to develop women football in the country.