TNM Super League debutants Ekwendeni Hammers Coach Etson Kadenge Mwafulirwa has paid tribute to experienced players for contributing largely to the team’s promising start to life in the elite league.
Hammers, having roped in five experienced players, are second on the log table, below leaders Silver Strikers, with 19 points from nine matches.
Mwafulirwa said experienced players had brought stability to the side in the top flight league.
“Upon arrival at the club, I requested management to sign experienced players in the team for us to survive. The old guard is working hard. I am impressed with their performance,” he said.
Hammers signed defender Harry Nyirenda [from Be Forward Wanderers], Maneno Nyoni [from defunct Masters Security], Zikani Kasambala [from Silver Strikers] and Eric Kaonga [from Mlatho Mponela] before the start of the 2020/21 season.
Mwafulirwa maintained nine players from the squad that won the Simso Northern Region Football Association Premier Division championship to earn Super League promotion.
The coach also recognised former Be Forward Wanderers Chairperson Gift Mkandawire for partially supporting the team.
“As a coach, I would like to say that managing players is not easy. We are doing well because of the support we get from well-wishers including Mkandawire,” he said.
Mkandawire, who is also former Super League of Malawi Vice President, said he was assisting the team after being approached by the Karonga community but he insisted that he was still a Mighty Be Forward Wanderers die-hard.
“Basically, I come from Ekwendeni; so, when the people came to support the side, I had to do so. The side also asked me to be their patron and I agreed to take over sponsoring role. It is the same thing when Malawi plays Zambia. I am a Zambia-born Malawian; so, both national teams are in my heart,” he said.
Mkandawire said he was surprised with Ekwendeni’s blistering start to the season as he feared the team would be fighting for survival.
“This is good news and I am very happy with the way the team is performing. I didn’t expect that a team like Ekwendeni could be on second position in the top flight and competing with the likes of Silver Kudos to the boys,” he said.