Tributes are pouring in for the highly decorated Kamuzu Barracks coach Billy Phambala (48), who passed away on Thursday 24th September 2020 at Kamuzu Barracks hospital in Lilongwe.
He will go in KB’s all time history as the first coach to lead the team to its first ever Super League title in 2016, barely two seasons after the club was promoted to elite league.
On top of that Phambala is credited with KB’s first major silverware Carlsberg cup in 2013 and FISD Cup 2017 glory.
In 2016 and 2019, the former Kamuzu Barracks tactician guided the team to FISD cup finals but on both occasions lost to Be Forward Wanderers and Blue Eagles respectively.
Breaking the news, Kamuzu Barracks Football Club Secretary General Prince Bright Mijiga said in a statement issued Thursday morning that the club was at loss of words at the untimely death of their beloved coach.
Mijiga said the news has shaken the club and left a void that will never be filled.
“During this cruel and difficult time, our love and condolences go to his children and the rest of the family.
“As a club, we will remember our head coach as a great leader who possessed excellent know-how of the game and good people management”.
Coach Phambala led the team to an unprecedented TNM Super League Championship in 2016/17 season a feat that remains unparalleled to date owing to the difficult circumstances then”, pined Mijiga.
He went on to salute Phambala’s mentoring skills, warm and tolerant personality, dedication to duty and above all, selflessness even in the face of illness or any other challenge.
“The loss of our coach will painfully be felt by our club, supporters and indeed everyone who ever had the pleasure of knowing him”, he grieved.
Phambala’s assistant coach Ted Kalinda and a member of the dream squad that won the super league championship in 2016 told SWAM 365 that his mentor’s demise is devastating.
“Personally as his assistant coach I am devastated with his passing and the same applies to the entire team and the MDF family.
“Phambala is the most successful coach in the clubs history because since his arrival at KB in 2013 he won us several major trophies including our only elite league title to date”.
He was strict disciplinarian but very approachable as such many of us learned quite a lot from his coaching and team management skills”, Ted mourned.
Former Civil United Coach Millias Jegwe Pofera described the passing of KB mentor Billy Phambala as a huge blow to the coaching fraternity.
“Billy Phambala was humble, good at his work and a strong motivator to most of us including upcoming coming coaches the going gets tough for them.
“Billy was highly qualified and the works of his hands are there to speak for him since the time he joined Kamuzu Barracks in 2013”.
Therefore, as one of the football coaches in Malawi, I am deeply saddened with Billy’s death and i believe this is equally the same with the entire football fraternity in the country”, Jegwe lamented.
Eliah Kananji who knew Billy Phambala from their playing days told SWAM 365 that his departed colleague had an extraordinary character.
“Back in the days I played against Billy Phambala when he featured for Admarc Tigers FC as well as Red Lions before hanging up his boots to join the coaching career.
“I have played lost the league title to Kamuzu Barracks in 2016 by a whisker while at the helm of Big Bullets FC concurred”.
As a coach Billy is one of the coaches I respect so much in the country because while with Red Lions and later Kamuzu Barracks he achieved a lot”, he said.
Last Tuesday, we went to cheer him up and certainly, I am heartbroken to learn of his death”, Kananji whose voice kept breaking grieved.
Meanwhile, Football association President Walter Nyamilandu has defined Phambala as one the top coaches with excellent track record.
In a briefed statement released on Thursday afternoon Nyamilandu said, “Phambala will be remembered as a great leader who possessed excellent tactical and player management skills.
He was an accomplished Coach and at his peak led Kamuzu Barracks to their only super league championship in 2016/17 season and the FISD Cup in 2018,” said Nyamilandu.
The body of late Billy Phambala has since been taken to his home Village Chibwana in Mchinji district.
He will laid to rest on Friday, 25th September, 2020