By Inno Chanza
At Likoma the Anglicans were also more into football. By 1910 the Anglicans at Likoma came with a book of rules standardising the game of football for the first time in Nyasaland.
They believed that in football native students would embrace the virtues of English self discipline and fair play.
The Blantyre mission built the first football pitch in Nyasaland at HHI still surviving to date. .. which was later to be used by Michiru Castles, one of the oldest clubs in Nyasaland.
In 1920s other bodies – the Police formed in 1923, Prison, Boma administrative staff formed teams which took part in football matches.
The foundation of Ndirande Welfare Club in 1933 by the Likes of Sangala, Lawrence Makata and Lali Lubani ensured that football was organised on a formal basis.
Ndirande Welfare Club which controlled football issues inter alia was run by a group of mission educated clerks and businessmen. The club had its own football pitch where it played regular matches against Jeanes College FC of Domasi.
The oldest and first company sponsored team in Nyasaland was Nyasaland Railways FC.
In 1937 Levi Mumba convined a meeting in Lilongwe stating that immediate steps were to be taken to revive sports in Nyasaland particularly football.
Observations at the meeting were that football was not being played regularly in Nyasaland due to lack of ‘ball or ground.’
Former soldiers of KAR, workers returning from Salisbury and South Africa became very involved in football.
The key development in Nyasaland football was in 1938 with the formation of the Shire Highlands African League.
In 1939, the Nyasaland Railways began to run the ‘football specials’ between Blantyre and Limbe taking fans to some of the matches using company transport.
Nyasaland interest in football grew so tremendously that in 1946, teams from Chileka and Lunzu were incorporated into the Shire Highlands League including Michiru Castles of Chilomoni.
That year the climax was the Nyasaland Amateur Football Cup final between Abraham FC of Blantyre vs Zomba Amateur Athletic FC.
In a rare outbreak of multiracialism the game was played at Blantyre Sports Club.
The game attracted a large crowd across racial barriers. ..Indians, Europeans and the natives.
Abraham FC of Blantyre won the cup 2-1.
James Sangala one of the founders of Nyasaland African Congress was the Chief Organiser of the League.
Sangala was also the manager of Shire Highlands Select which played Grupo Desportivo Rebenta Fogo of Beira in 1949.
This was the first international match that Nyasaland played.
By this time, Nyasaland Football Association had been formed with teams like Imperial Tobacco Co FC taking on existing favourites Michiru Castles of Chilomoni, Abrahams FC and Ndirande Lions.
In 1962 Nyasaland played Westham FC of London in Blantyre at Rangeley Stadium and later played Ghana the African Champions and lost 12-0 with the likes of Nyasaland prolific striker Godfrey Kalitsiro, Roy Maliwa, Raleigh Mmanga, Richard Banda, Oliver Nankhumwa, Lee Mlanga in the team
Nevertheless in June 1964 Nyasaland played against Southern Rhodesia at Rangeley in Blantyre and drew in presence of 50, 000 spectators.
In July 1964 the Mufulu Cup was the first cup organised by an independent African state in Southern Africa.
Nyasaland organised this cup which involved Northern Rhodesia,Nyasaland and Tanganyika.
The development of football in Nyasaland was done by different dedicated men who knew when to go after their contributions
In 1968, Sidney Chikafa one of the old players in Nyasaland formed the Football Association of Malawi and became it’s first President.