NEWS | SPORTS
By Cyrus Nyirenda
Infantry modern warfare and protecting the civilians are soldiers’ core duties in their day to day life. Not only are they experts in modern warfare, but armed forces are also talented in various sporting disciplines; both indoor sports and outdoor.
From the third battalion of the Malawi Defence Forces also known as Moyale Barracks cometh Moyale Barracks FC; a formidable side that is ruthless on the pitch. The club has a rich history not only in the elite league but also in various soccer cups locally.
Nicknamed The Lions of Kaning’ina, Moyale Barracks Fc’s soccer antics over the years have won the hearts of many. No wonder, it is the fulcrum of soccer in the northern region.
Simply put, you cannot write the history of modern day Malawian soccer without scribbling a page or two about the Lions of Kaning’ina. By the way, do you know that Moyale Barracks FC alone has won many cups than all the other Malawi Defence Forces soccer teams combined? The likes of FAM cup (2008 and 2009), Chibuku cup (1999), the Carlsberg cup second edition in 2001 and managed to reach the finals of the Carlsberg cup in 2012 and 2016 but failed to overcome Bullets on both occasions.
In the late 90’s, Moyale was one of the hardest nuts to crack more especially when playing at home. It was a giant killing machine. It was not easy, back then to collect maximum points from the 10 thousand seater Mzuzu stadium; Moyale’s home ground.
The monster, Prichard Mwansa, the ever-green Victor Phiri, Stereo Gondwe… the list it too long to complete. As Vic Chingoka, the current Deputy Coach for the team testifies, Moyale Barracks Fc was on a planet of its own back then.
“I also played in the team and yes we were a tough team to beat and we feared no team in Malawi. Back then, we played with all our hearts and unity as brothers in arms; that’s why we won such trophies.” He revealed.
Just like any other soccer team, and also a Malawi Defence Force funded outfit, Moyale Barracks FC has seen some of its brilliant players coming and going; either to fellow MDF teams or to civilian teams. All this has never let Moyale wither.
Currently, the Lions of Kaning’ina are the only team from the northern region to have never been relegated from the elite league.
Although Moyale Barracks Fc has been a formidable force in cup matches, it has nothing to offer in the elite league, despite, at times, coming closer to clinching the championship (2013/14 season). And currently, all is not that rosy with the team in the super league. currently, being forsaken to position seventh in the league does not befit a team of Moyale Barracks Fc’s stature.
The team is currently struggling in the super league as some of the players were banned on disciplinary grounds. That is not all. The team has to fight tooth and nail to finish in the top eight for the sake of the annual Airtel Top Eight tourney. According to Charles Kamanga, the man in charge of the team, his charges doing all they can to move fight on.
“We are trying hard and the boys are giving it all they can to bring results at home and I am certain we will stay in the super league and try to win the remain games of the second round”. Kamanga remarked.
Having been shamelessly given the boot from the Carlsberg Cup, and also the dream of clinching the super league practically erased, all is not that murky as others may think. Now, the team have cast its eyes towards the Fisd challenge Cup. The cup, according to Chingoka, Airtel Top Eight is Moyale’s only glimmer of hope.
“Our job is to win trophies together with the players, and Airtel top Eight is one of those,” Said Chingoka.
The mission is not over yet for the Kanin’gina soldiers as the super league draws towards the finishing line, the mission gets more exciting because at the end of the day, every team is going to be fighting for maximum points. Now, this is the time any sane team cannot rule out the surprise that Moyale can cause.
Previously, the never-say-die attitude of the Lions of Kaning’ina has ever wreaked havoc to unsuspecting opponents, so why not now? As they say, anything is possible in the game of soccer.
Mental strength, stamina, and discipline are the key words going in the minds of the Lions of Kaning’ina because as soldiers, they are more knowledgeable that for one to complete a mission, one needs to stay focused and have one goal in mind.
So, is it really over for Moyale Barracks Fc?
“We cannot say all is over for us because there is still some matches remaining, and the boys know that if we are to do well, winning is our only chance,” challenges Chingoka.