Tragedy in Malawi as three football players die in accident



Blantyre, Malawi, Aug. 23 (Raphael Tenthani – (Newstime Africa) _ Three players belonging to the reigning Malawi Presidential Cup champions, Mafco, were killed in a road accident Friday morning in the central district of Nkhota Kota, police have confirmed.

“We confirm the death of three Mafco players and the injury of three others,” Nkhota Kota police spokesman Kaitano Lubrino told PANA Friday.

Mafco, a Malawi Army outfit based at the Malawi Defence Forces training college in the central lakeshore district of Salima, was in Nkhota Kota facing another Malawi Army team, Moyale, based in the northern city of Mzuzu, in a Carlsberg Cup quarter final game. The game, played on Wednesday, ended in a one-all draw but Moyale won 3-1 in post-match penalties.

Mafco General Secretary Oscar Lipenga said said the team decided to stay on in Nkhota Kota after the midweek game because it had to fulfil other fixtures in the top-flight Super League.

“Six players left camp and went out on a drinking binge after the game and we suspended them and ordered them to leave for home,” he said.

Lipenga said they got a call in the wee hours of Friday that there was an accident and three of their players died on the spot.

Lubrino, the Nkhota Kota police spokesman, said the six left the district late Thursday night in a truck which was involved in accident.

Lubrino identified the deceased players as Sadan Magwere, Gift Mphonde, Chifundo Phiri. The injured players are Sailesi Phiri, Jimmy Mzunga and Gift Soko, according to Lubrino.

The police spokesman said driver of the truck, Edwin Kalebu, told police he had seven passengers on board his truck. At around midnight he was trying to negotiate a curve when was interrupted by a sign-post indicating a breakdown in front of him.

“This prompted him to divert and, in the course, lost control of the vehicle which overturned,” he said.

Four people died on the spot including the football players and an assistant driver. The three other players were rushed to a nearby mission hospital.

Lipenga, the Mafco general secretary, said the team was shocked by the death of the three players.

“These were key players in our team,” he said.

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