People from all walks of life will on Saturday bid farewell to celebrated Malawi Queens Coach Griffin “Zagalo” Sayenda (68) as his body lie in state at the Blantyre Youth Centre for a short while before the netball fraternity walks him his last mile to the final resting place at HHI cemetery in Blantyre later in the afternoon.
Throughout his illustrious journey as a celebrated Malawi Queens and Diamond Sisters head coach, Blantyre Youth Centre became Sayenda synonymous with his name because he was a darling and an idol all that crossed paths with him off and off the court.
Therefore, it was only right and proper for Zagalo to bid farewell to his heartbroken and tearful admirers at this reminiscent facility where he spend much of his time and shared fond memories before ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes and later stroke forced him into partial coaching retirement.
On Friday, hundreds of people alongside the bereaved family gathered at College of Medicine to collect the fallen legendary and record breaker Queens Coach’s remains.
Inside the white wooden casket, decorated with strips of national flag colours and a logo of a netballer shooting into the net placed in between the gold like handles, lay the lifeless body of coach Zagalo dressed in his trademark three button dark suit with a branded Malawi National Council of Sports red tie.
There was an overflow of tears as men and women that either gathered at the mortuary and outside the College of Medicine gates uncontrollably wept as the hearse carrying Sayenda’s remains left the morgue for his residence in Chimwankhunda where thousands of mourners welcomed his body.
According to the official burial program, people in his Chimwankhunda township will on Saturday pay their last respects to coach Sayenda before the body is taken to Blantyre youth Centre for the full funeral service that include the public body viewing led by the Minister of Sports. Burial is set for HHI cemetery later in the afternoon.
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.
‘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 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.