Former football player Mario Antoine has started to chronicle Malawi’s football history starting Thursday, February 15 through a column to be featured every Thursday on Football Association of Malawi (FAM) website -http:www.fam.mw called ‘Throw Back Thursday with Mario’.
His first entry starts by saying: “At the beginning of organised football in the then Nyasaland, there were two separate Associations set in the early years, one being for the Europeans that was known as Nyasaland Football Association (NFA) and the other being for Africans and known as the Nyasaland African Football Association (NAFA).
“NAFA was the first to be formed in 1938 as media reports stated that the second season, The Shire Highlands Football League (SHFL),was to commence on 10 June 1939 with 16 teams affiliated from the areas of Limbe, Blantyre, Ntenjela and Chileka.
“Unfortunately, football was interrupted during the Second World War and the next domestic report obtained was 1952 where the Annual General Elections took place on 14 June 1952 and the following officials elected:
Chairman: Mr. J.P. Nachamba
Vice Chairman: Mr. A.J. Mponda
Secretary: Mr. F.K. Sazuze (re-elected)
Vice-Secretary: Mr. C.J.W. Masambo
Treasurer: Mr. J.B. Kaliati.”
He signed off his first entry by promising that next week he shall discuss the formation of the NFA.
Antoine has been involved in Malawi football since 1970 when he played for Chichiri Athletics under coach Brian Griffin, a former player for English club Bristol City before being involved with the Malawi national team as both coach and player.
He switched sports and became involved with hockey where he went on to play for the national team in the late 80’s and early 90’s before retiring as Hockey Association of Malawi (HAM) vice-president in 2008.
Mario is now retired and living in England after working with Toyota Malawi for 35 years. He then turned his attention to documenting the history of Malawi football.
He says he has spent a lot of time scouring the archives of The Daily Times, The Nation, Zomba Archives and the British Library, going back as far as the 1930’s.
Reacting to the news after www.fam.mw posted on its Facebook page announcing the good news, darts player Chisambiro Eliah said: “I didn’t know that Mario was once a football player. This man has helped darts here in Malawi and his departure to UK left a big vacuum which we are failing to fill.
“He is a man with passion in any sports discipline I would love if we could also hear of his achievements in darts as well,” he said.
Talimba Mwalwanda wrote: “He made some of us to be where we are in darts because of his leadership skills. Without the likes of Mario, Soka Banda, late Dean Pinto etc, I could have stopped playing darts long time ago.”
Former Southern Region Darts League chairman Harry Msiska said: [Mario] was an accomplished sportsman. “Talk of hockey, lawn tennis etc [he made a mark].”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :