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Netball fraternity mourns as legendary Zagalo dies aged 68

Sayenda led Malawi Queens to ANC victory in 2012, helped Queens attain fifth position in the world and scooped almost all domestic titles and trophies for Diamond

No more/Photo Credit: Arkangel Tembo

A dark cloud has fallen on Malawi Netball following the death of Malawi Queens and Diamonds Iconic Coach Griffin Zagalo Sayenda.

Sayenda died on Monday morning at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where he had been admitted last Thursday after suffering from stroke. His son Griffin Sayenda Jnr confirmed the sad development adding his father’s remains had since been transferred to College of Medicine mortuary awaiting funeral program.

Among notable achievements, the ex-southern region sports development officer Griffin  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.

Zagalo and his son Griffin Jnr pose for a photo during one of Queens international assignments

Sayenda’s son Griffin Jnr described his father  as “a great father to many not just to us as family”. Griffin Jnr told 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 a very big gap to both Malawi Queens and Diamond. ” But all i can say is; to God be the glory.

Minutes after news about Zagalo’s death started spreading, thousands of netball fanatics started pouring in tributes. Sam Kanyenda who served as Zagalo’s assistant coach on numerous Queens’s assignments described his former mentor’s death as a very sad news. “Very sad news. Not a good way to start the day! May his soul rest in peace”

Kanyenda who is with the Queens in South Africa was making a direct reference to the team’s engagement with the Proteas later today (Thursday) n as the Spar Netball Challenge throws off.

Writing on Media Hub Whatsapp forum former MBC Sports Reporter Paul Kamanga said: “a true legend of the game is gone.”

Seasoned Sports Journalist Micheal Mmeya said: “Indeed a big loss to Malawi netball. He had the sport in his blood condolences to the Queens.”

MBC’s veteran sports journalist Patrick Simango wrote: “The Legend is gone. The great teacher. May his soul rest in Eternal living peace.”

Meanwhile, the Malawi Queens begin their first match of the three days Spar Netball Challenge against South Africa this afternoon at the Sun City.

On Tuesday, the Queens squads were yet again subjected to a fresh Covid-19 test whose results came out negative, a spirit lifter to the team ahead of the clash with the Proteas this afternoon.

The three day test series involving the host Proteas and Malawi Queens begins on 26 and will end 30 November in Rustenburg, South Africa.

The Queens are without key shooters Mwai Kumwenda and Joyce Mvula who both excused themselves due to different reasons.

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