South Africa-based seasoned midfielder Robert Ng’ambi has said he once tried, unsuccessfully, to entice South African attacker of Malawi ancestry, Lesedi Kapinga, to play for the Flames.
The Daily Times sought Ng’ambi’s reaction after Kapinga told South Africa media that he has never been interested in the Flames because, while his family is originally from Malawi, he and his parents were born and bred in South Africa.
In reaction, Ng’ambi described Kapinga as “an attacking machine”.
“Even before I joined Leopards, I knew that Kapinga has some roots in Malawi because I understand he is related to the late Lesley Manyathela [then of Orlando Pirates] who was his cousin.
“I once talked to Kapinga about Malawi but it was difficult convincing him to play for Malawi because nobody from Malawi FA had contacted him probably because they, too, did not know about him,” the former Nyasa Big Bullets midfielder said.
Baroka FC Vice-Captain, Gerald Phiri Junior, echoed Ng’ambi remarks describing Kapinga as “a very good player, one of the best number 10s in the country.”
Kapinga, 24, is among Leopards leading scorers with six but he is yet to play for Bafana meaning that he qualifies to play for the Flames.
He is rated as the next Percy Tau, the former Bafana star. But Kapinga told Kick-Off that he is not interested in the Flames.
“I don’t know anything about that, but what would I be doing in Malawi? They do have players there, even here in Mzansi you have players, but I will play here in South Africa, nowhere else. If I had to choose it would be Malawi and South Africa, but still, what would I be doing there as well? I grew up this side.
“My family is from Malawi, but the old generation not the current one you see. So that is why I’m saying I won’t go there, I will play here. No one is from Zambia in my family, they are from Malawi and that was the old generation, not my dad. My dad and mom are also from here,” Kapinga told Kick-Off. com.
Commenting on Kapinga’s remarks, a reader of Kick-Off wrote: “This boy is ill-advised and will regret very soon. He should opt to play for Malawi or Zambia. Bafana will never give him an opportunity to play.”
Manyathela, who died in a car accident outside Musina on August 9 2003, a few years earlier told the media in South Africa that his grandfather was Mr Manda from Malawi.
Malawi laws were until recently, not entertaining dual citizenship but they have since been relaxed. However, the law it is yet to be operationalised.
The first meeting for newly elected Football Association of Malawi executive committee recently agreed to pursue vigorously all players with Malawi roots in foreign land.
Other countries such as Zambia have benefited from the expertise of South Africa-born players such as Cyril Chibwe who plays for Chipolopolo despite that he was born and bred in Rustenburg. Chibwe’s father is originally from Zambia.
Peter Kanjere is a versatile Journalist currently working for Times Group as Assistant Editor for The Daily Times.
With vast experience in the industry, he is also an accomplished Sports Analyst, whose exploits in sports reporting and analysis span beyond the length and breadth of the African continent.