Former Justice minister Raphael Kasambara is, without doubt, the happiest man around. Just days after his release on bail from prison, he found another reason to celebrate Sunday as his nine-year-old son, Zizwani, will be Malawi’s ambassador at this year’s World Cup in Russia.
Zizwani, a pupil at St. Andrews International Primary School in Blantyre, outclassed a field of 19 other young footballers to win the Official Match Ball Carrier competition organised by Kia Motors Malawi.
As if taking advantage of having the competition at his own school, Zizwani was the star of the day-long event as he excelled in six drills conducted by a team of certified Fifa grassroots coaches led by former Azam Tigers coach, Patrick Kulemeka.
Inspired by the presence of both his parents, the dimunitive Zizwani put up a masterful performance to earn himself a ticket to the global event which kicks off in June.
When it was announced that Zizwani was the ultimate winner of the competition, which started late last month, Kasambara was so excited that he jumped from his seat at the school ground’s terraces.
Several patrons sitting by his side also got up to give him some congratulatory hugs. He later joined his wife, Maggie, in walking onto the pitch to congratulate their boy for his achievement.
He later said that he knew Zizwani could win the contest as he is passionate about football.
“Zizwani and football are inseparable. He loves the game very much. So we knew that he stood a chance to win this competition because of his dedication,” Kasambara said.
He said, as parents, they are exploring the possibility of sending Zizwani to a football academy to help him sharpen his skills in the game.
HTD Limited Chief Executive Officer, Harris Sidik, whose company is the local dealer for Kia vehicles, thanked the competitors and their parents for turning up for the event.
“This is an opportunity for us to market our country through our representative in Russia. Zizwani will be the face of Malawi on the global stage. As a company, we will support him in every possible way to ensure that he is ready for the World Cup,” Sidik said.
Zizwani will be one of 26 children selected from different countries by Kia Motors Corporation to appear in pre-match ceremonies during the event.
The contest involved over 200 children, under the age of 14, from 16 Malawian international primary schools.
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