Jafali Chande haunted
The just-ended season’s late bloomer, Jafali Chande, who singlehandedly earned Be Forward Wanderers a bus prize, has opened up over the pain of playing through injury and threats since his dramatic switch from Nyasa Big Bullets.
Last year, Bullets had Chande arrested after claiming that he forged a copy of the contract, which had indicated that his deal expired last April.
However, Football Association of Malawi cleared the player, paving the way for his move to Wanderers. Bullets claimed Chande’s contact was running until 2017.
Chande, who was among the highest scoring attacking midfielders with seven league goals, eight in Carlsberg Cup and four in Bus Ipite Bonanza, said he has never been in peace since leaving Bullets.
“It is like I am always on the run. I still get threats from anonymous callers who accuse me of having insulted their team through the press. Sometimes, they talk about things that I do not know,” said the former Epac player without being specific on the fans.
“After the first leg of the bonanza, fans stormed my home. Fortunately, I and my family had already left. I am grateful that my team got a tip off in time that some fans wanted to attack me.”
A master of scoring from the deep and the blind side, Chande pleaded with fans to accept the fact that he is just like any professional who can change jobs.
“It was a tough season as I was down with a knee injury. Doctors at Beit Cure International Hospital advised me to stay out of action for several months, but I forced myself to play through pain. I had to prove myself at Wanderers as some fans were bitter with me when I failed to score in the first round [Wanderers lost 1-0 to Bullets],” he explained.
“However, this was not about revenge against anyone or any team. I am just a player. I am not a supporter. My message to the fans is that ‘is that the way they would want to treat their player? What if I joined their team, how would they feel having subjected me to all this.”
Chande added that he wants to prove himself in the Flames. The national team’s interim Coach Gerald Phiri Senior, included Chande in the provisional squad to meet China Select on January 28 at Bingu National Stadium.
“My dream is to play for a big team outside Malawi. I have received inquiries from potential suitors in South Africa, Mozambique, Sudan and Egypt, but I need to earn caps first before signing for a foreign team. Then I would be worth a professional player,” he concluded.
Bullets’ vice-chairperson, Austin Kasito, Sunday insisted that the issue of Chande was water under the bridge.
“If indeed that has been happening to Chande then it is unfortunate. We always advise our fans to accept that players are just employees, who can leave or get fired. The fact that Chande scored in Blantyre and Lilongwe during the bonanza must have hurt some fans, but let us accept that players come and go,” Kasito said.
Wanderers’ vice-Chairperson, Gift Mkandawire, on Sunday said Chande has not reported officially to the club’s management about the threats.
“However, I would not be surprised with these reports as he was one of our key players. When he started banging the goals, this must have rekindled the anger of our neighbours,” Mkandawire said.
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