The body of late Griffin Zagalo Sayenda will be laid to rest on Saturday at H.H.I cemetery in Blantyre, family sources say.
Sayenda who until his death was the Malawi Queens Technical Director and Diamond Sisters head coach died in the wee hours of Thursday, 26 November 2020 at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where he had been admitted last Thursday after suffering from stroke.
The fallen legendary body is in the meantime being kept at College of Medicine mortuary in Blantyre whereas vigil is taking place at his residence near Zion minibus stage in Blantyre’s Chimwankhunda Township.
‘Zagalo” as was fondly called by his admirers is regarded as one of the country’s most successful netball coaches for both club and National Netball team.
During his illustrious career as Malawi Queens coach, Sayenda led the Malawi Queens to the 2012 African Netball Championship victory in Dar salaam, Tanzania, helped the Queens move to the fifth position in World and for the first time Malawi Queens finished third at the 2016 Fast 5 test series in England.
While serving as Kukoma Diamonds head Coach, Griffin Sayenda scooped all major national and regional silverware and titles on the domestic scene including Rainbow Paints, OG Issa, Toyota Cup , Standard Bank Cup , Airtel Money Cup , Presidential Cup and Kombeza Cup so with the latest being the 2019 Rainbow paints league title.
The one time Civo FC player, Sayenda nicknamed himself “Zagalo” due to his total admiration of Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo, a Brazilian former football player and manager who was the first footballer to win the FIFA World Cup both as a manager and as a player, 1958 FIFA World Cup and 1962 FIFA World Cup as a player, the 1970 FIFA World Cup as a manager and the 1994 FIFA World Cup as an assistant manager.
Sayenda’s son Griffin Jnr described his father as “a great father to many not just to us as family”. Griffin Jnr told www.swammw.com that he personally spent a lot of time with his father and groomed to what he is today. “I will miss him as my father, mentor and best friend.
The young Sayenda went on to hail his father for leaving behind a lasting legacy that people “will leave to cherish his work”..
He nonetheless acknowledged that Zagolo’s demise has left a very big gap to both Malawi Queens and Diamond. ” But all i can say is; to God be the glory.
Meanwhile, government says it is deeply saddened by the death of Coach Griffin Saenda, describing his death as a great loss to the Netball fraternity.
Mr. Saenda was one of the best Coaches for the Malawi National Netball Team and he made great contributions to the country’s Netball, Minister of Sports Ulemu Msungama said in a brief statement.
Msungama said: “We cannot talk about Netball in Malawi without mentioning late Coach Sayenda’s name.
The Netball fraternity and indeed the whole country will miss his contributions.”
Netball Association of Malawi General Secretary Carol Bapu said the Association and the entire Queens squad was at loss of words over coach Sayenda’s demise.
Bapu paid a special tribute to Sayenda, calling him “a great man” for transforming the Queens fortunes throughout the period he was the national team coach.
“We are in a state of shock and words alone cannot express the kind of grief we have over our mentor, father
Writing on her Facebook page, Australia based Malawi Queens’s shooter Mwai Kumwenda who referred to Zagalo as a true legend said: “I feel a huge sense loss.
“To know he is no more is definitely a hard hit and a tremendous loss for the country.”