Mbulu branded ‘bad news’ for top scoring in Malawi flaship league

It has become common practice over the years for Malawian football stars to embrace nicknames either of their own creation or by renowned commentators and analysts.

Mbulu: Bad News
Mbulu: Bad News

Still fresh in memories of many soccer followers is the nickname “weapon of mass destruction” endowed on Malawi’s soccer star Jimmy Zakazaka by Zambia’s football commentator, late Dennis Liwewe. Liwewe saw it fit to nickname Zakazaka as such after his brilliant performance in a CAF Club Championship match played in Lusaka between the then Bakili Bullets and Zanaco in which Zakazaka scored a marvelous winning goal for Bullets.

Last season, veteran soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda nicknamed Civo United’s Nelson Kangunje as the “silencer” because of the vital and timely goals he scored both in the top flight league as well as cup games.

But this story is not about Jimmy Zakazaka. Neither is it about Nelson Kangunje. It is about someone else. He first tried his luck at Bullets and never succeeded. He then moved to Salima to try his luck with Mafco FC. Thanks to coach Thomas “Biggie” Maloya who welcomed him and noted the potential in the lad. He groomed him and today he is a prolific and influential striker for Mafco FC.

Defenders in the TNM Super League know him very well and obviously take time to discuss him whenever their team is meeting Mafco. His name is Richard Mbulu.

In a programme called “Soccer Show” hosted by Mike Bango every Monday evening on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), analyst Charles Nyirenda nicknamed Richard Mbulu as “Bad News”.

“I hereby nickname Richard Mbulu ‘Bad News’,” declared Nyirenda. “When Mbulu is in the field of play, you are sure that he will score a goal. It is that goal that becomes bad news to the opposing team,” he added.

Mbulu is currently top goal scorer in the TNM Super League alongside Beforward Wanderers’ Peter Wadawa. They have scored 11 goals each. Chiukepo Msowoya for Nyasa Big Bullets comes second with 9 goals.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Nyasa Times, Mbulu said he welcomed the name saying Nyirenda had seen and appreciated his hard work, hence the name.

“It’s an honour to be recognized as such. I will continue to work hard so that one day I can dawn the national colours and later play professional football outside this country. I know with God it’s possible,” explained Mbulu.

Former Silver Strikers and Flames midfield workhorse Herrings Mwakasungura described Mbulu as a sharp and smart player on the field of play who knows what to do when “with” and/or “without” the ball.

Nyirenda is the one who also nicknamed former flames defence pillar Patrick Mabedi as “General”.

It is expected that as has always been the case, the nickname “Bad News” will be used by Mbulu’s fellow players, supporters and commentators alike.

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