There was a real feast of quality football in Lilongwe last weekend.
On Sunday, for the second consecutive year, the Silver Strikers F.C. won the Malawi Premier Division, also known as the TNM Super League. It was the final day of the season and they retained the title on goal difference. But the real highlight happened before that…
On Saturday, I played in an exhibition 11-a-side football match against the Reserve Bank of Malawi’s social team. It was at the Silver Strikers F.C.’s home ground, the Silver Stadium in Lilongwe, which the Reserve Bank handily owns. Having heard about the Silver Strikers’ final match, I had wondered why we would be allowed to play on their pitch the day before?! But their game was being played at the CIVO Stadium instead.
I was playing for the aptly named Sheffield Tuesday team, which was basically a collection of azungus who play 5-a-side every Tuesday. Having never played together as an 11-a-side team, we did okay! Although we ultimately lost against a decent team of locals who work for the Reserve Bank and play together every week. We gave them a real game where we opened the scoring. It was arguably my one and only contribution when I managed to control a delicate 5 yard pass from our striker Shane. And unmarked at the edge of the box, I managed a left foot curler which the keeper got a big hand to but didn’t manage to keep out! Minor detail that I was in fact aiming for curl the ball around the one defender between me and far post. It actually went inside the defender and because it didn’t really curl, it ended up in the top corner(ish). Later on in the match and in a similar position in the box, I thumped a right footed shot against the near post… I was actually aiming for the far post of course!
It was a great experience to play at the Silver Stadium and score. It’s by far the biggest stadium I’ve ever played in. That was previously AFC Telford United’s humble New Bucks Head stadium. And we even had fans!
The final score was 5-3.