Former Be Forward Wanderers and Blantyre United striker Maxwell Chirwa is seeing out the remaining years of his football career in the United States, where he is playing for a lower league amateur team.
Interestingly, Chirwa, whose national team career ended prematurely after a horrific leg injury in 2003, now plays as a defender for Yemen Elite in New York.
Chirwa helped the team, which campaigns in the Premier Division of the Buffalo & District Soccer League, win Tehel Cup last week.
Yemen defeated Buffalo United Soccer Stars on post-match penalties, according to Buffalo newspaper reporter Ben Tsujimoto.
The reporter, in an e-mailed response to The Daily Times’ questionnaire, said Yemen Elite a top amateur men’s team in Buffalo, New York.
Across all tiers, the league comprises 80 teams, but the Premier Division has 12 teams.
“While Yemen Elite avoided relegation in league play, they really shone in the Tehel Cup, which is a single-elimination tournament held each year among teams in the top three divisions.
“Chirwa plays an important role, even if he flies a little under the radar and doesn’t stand out on the statistics sheet. He is capable of playing anywhere along the back line, and he is quick, composed and a solid ball-winner. He is the definition of a steady defender, and did well to help stave off many of Buffalo United Soccer Stars’ attacks in the title game,” Tsujimoto said.
Chirwa, who did not realise his potential due to the injury, was part of a batch of talented players Alex Masanjala and Manfred Hoener groomed at the turn of the century.
Chirwa, who posted on his Face-book page his picture celebrating with the trophy, left for America in 2013 to pursue studies.
The player could not be reached for a comment yesterday but internet reports show that he also played for another lower league American side, Elnwood Saints, in 2015.
The group of players, that were later to form the backbone of Malawi under-20 and under-17 national football teams, included Esau Kanyenda, Kachibowo Malunga, Swadick Sanudi, Dan Chitsulo, Patrick Mangani, Maupo Msowoya, Simeon Kapuza, Allan Kamanga, James Kaniche, Peter Mponda and Andrew Chikhosi.
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