Many Malawians has decribed former Mighty Wanderers player late Jimmy Mphamba as a very talented and skilful but who never showcased his full potential since his career was cut short by a very serious knee injury.
Jimmy Mphamba died on July 13 in South Africa where he was based and was buried there on Saturday.
Commenting on a post on Facebook posted by former Wanderers team manager Limbani Magomero, Gulam Pinto lamented “Another Nomad legend departs, RIP” in reference to the recent demise of another talented player Jack ‘Africa’ Chamangwana.
At a tender age in the 1980s, Mphamba starred with a star-studded Mighty Wanderers comprising Jack Chamangwana, Lawrence Pereira Phiri, Barnet Gondwe, Robert Banda and several others.
In his ODE on Facebook, Magomero wrote: “Jimmy, the Afro-haired young man, probably the youngest in the then Yamaha Wanderers, mesmerized the crowds with his skill, speed and most of all his sniping abilities. Very smart all the time.
“No defence in and outside Malawi had a good solution for his sniping abilities. He was a player you could easily forget when playing only to be seen when he was ready to score.”
He wrote that during a CECAFA Club Championship between Wanderers and Simba Sports of Tanzania, Jimmy terrorized the Simba defense so much that their his opponents resorted to fouling him so much.
Magomero wrote: “Then Simba goalkeeper Muhammed Kajo went straight for his knee – ending the career of this young, skillful and one of the biggest hopes for Malawi.
“All this said, I want to mention in no uncertain terms, that I feel privileged for having carried his training kit more than 10 times, escorting him to Chichiri Secondary School ground where Wanderers trained. That was no mean achievement in those days. May the soul of Jimmy Mphamba Rest in Peace,” Magomero said.
Stewart Lamya said: “Eugenio Vesani came to the prominence after Jimmy Mphamba’s injury. I remember the game against Simba at Kamuzu Stadium. It was in the 70th minute when Simba goalkeeper advanced [at Mphamba] after Mohammed Kajore’s mispass.”
Hastings Chatsika said: “Jimmy Mphamba was a huge talent. His exploits in the field of play was a marvel to watch, he was goal poacher extraordinaire.
“[He was] one of the smartest football players to have played in Wanderers and Flames — his football jersey was always tucked in, his socks up, his hair well combed and kept smart even on a water lodged pitch.
“I was very privileged to have watched and brushed shoulders with this great son of Malawi football. Fare thee well JIMMY MPHAMBA.”
Muwuso Kachali remembers him as his coach at Jax Wanderers, a team for Jacaranda home. “He liked me so much that he gave me a first team game at Mpingwe ground. I was the youngest in the team then and that was a huge booster. MHSRIP.”
Another legend Lawrence Waya said he was happy to have had the privilege of playing against him both at primary schools’ Mayor’s Trophy and against rivals Wanderers when he was at his peak for Big Bullets.
Jimmy was born in 1963 in Zomba, the 6th born in family of nine.
He did his primary school in Zomba where Wanderers spotted him and moved to Blantyre where he went to Central High School.
After his injury, he trekked to South Africa and joined Orlando Pirates before joining African Wanderers in Durban.
He later coached Empangeni Black Pirates in Division 1 before joining the corporate world where he worked for Coca Cola and Distillaries.