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Mzimba Ngonis decorate Kinnah Phiri

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The Jele Ngonis of Mzimba on Saturday honoured, in absentia, former Flames coach, Kinnah Phiri, with a medal during this year’s Umthetho Cultural Celebration at Hora Mountain.

According to Mzimba Heritage Association official, Victor Madhlopa, the recognition is in appreciation of Kinnah’s role in the country’s football development as a player and a coach.

“Apart from his contribution to the national team as a coach, he is a humble man. His contribution to Mzuzu University team is among the factors we considered when choosing him. As you know, the University is in Mzimba and Phiri is not Ngoni, but he volunteered to assist,” Madhlopa said.

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In an interview from Tanzania where he coaches Mbeya City FC, Kinnah thanked the Ngonis for recognising his effort.

“It came as a surprise. I didn’t even expect that from my people. I just thank the Mzimba Ngonis for this,” Kinnah said.

The football legend played for Bullets in the 1970s and early 1980s as a striker.

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He twice managed the Flames between 2006 and 2014, leading the team to the African Cup of Nations finals in 2010 in Angola.

The 62-year-old coach was fired as the Flames’ coach in 2013, before he joined Free State Stars in South Africa last year.

He then joined Mzuni last season as a Technical Director and helped the team escape relegation.

As a player, Kinnah was the national team’s inspiration in its finest hour when it won the 1978 and 1979 East and Central Africa Senior Challenge cups.

He was quoted in the media as saying he was willing to return to the Flames if offered the job following Ernest Mtawali’s sacking.

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