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Yamikani Fodya’s dazzling legacy

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In the echo of the final whistle, an extraordinary football journey culminated as Yamikani Fodya, the prodigious talent unearthed in the Balaka township, bid farewell at the age of 32 after an illustrious 14-season stint with Malawi’s premier football club, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets.

As the curtain falls on his career, fans are left with a treasure trove of precious memories, marking ‘Ahedi’ as an indelible legend in the annals of Bullets history. The retirement announcement, strategically made after the 2023 Airtel Top 8 final triumph over Mafco FC, adds a poetic touch to Fodya’s exit, coinciding with The People’s Team’s historic quadruple achievement.

Back in 2009, an unassuming Fodya made a quantum leap from the lower league side Young Soccer to join the star-studded Bullets roster.

Faced with an unexpected stint as a goalkeeper in his debut season due to an injury crisis, Fodya showcased adaptability and resilience. Seizing the opportunity, he made his debut as a left wing-back in Matchweek 2 of the 2009 Super League of Malawi campaign, inspiring his team to a resounding 2-0 victory over Blue Eagles at the Kamuzu stadium.

With his afro neatly combed and his jersey carefully tucked in, Fodya’s exceptional kinetic energy, defensive solidity, and proficiency in dead-ball situations quickly made him an integral part of The People’s Team.

Over the next 14 years, he not only proved to be a stalwart in defence but also a key contributor in the attacking third, showcasing remarkable crossing skills and a penchant for scoring match-winning free-kicks.

The FDH Bank Cup is one of the four trophies Fodya won in the 2023 season before his retirement. Photo by Kimpho Loka/Bullets Media.

Fodya’s credentials as a true Bullets legend are beyond reproach. Six league titles, and a plethora of cup victories, including the 2012 Presidential Cup, 2014 Carlsberg Cup, and the 2021 Airtel Top 8, are a testament to his enduring impact on the pitch. Notably, his career boasts an impressive collection of 16 pieces of silverware, accompanied by five consecutive Charity Shield medals, an extraordinary feat that underscores his unwavering commitment to success.

“We should thank God so much; I have been in this house for 14 seasons, and today was the last day. We have finished our part; the young who have arrived must carry on,” Fodya declared, reflecting on his final moments with The People’s Team after their Airtel Top 8 triumph on January 6, 2024.

His parting words encapsulated his gratitude for a club that became his home, stating, “It has been an honour playing for this great club I call home. I came as a kid, but I am leaving as a legend. This club gave me everything any player can ask for.”

Leading the tributes was Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa, who has been Fodya’s mentor since 2018. Describing him as a phenomenal athlete and a role model, the Zimbabwean legend expressed his admiration for the retiring defender’s dedication and on-field contributions.

Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa and his technical panel celebrating with Yamikani Fodya after the defender scored a stunning freekick in the 2023 TNM Super League campaign. Photo by Kimpho Loka/Bullets Media.

Chief Administrative Officer for The People’s Team, Albert Chigoga, echoed Pasuwa’s sentiments, acknowledging Fodya’s unprecedented contributions to the club.

Chigoga revealed that Fodya would transition to a coaching role within the club’s technical set-up, ensuring that his wealth of experience continues to shape the future of The People’s Team.

As news of Fodya’s retirement reverberated, teammates, former captains, and prominent figures in Malawi’s football community inundated social media with heartfelt tributes.

Ex-Bullets captain Chimango Kayira paid homage, stating, “Yamikani Fodya is a true emblem of a sportsman. He enters the Hall of Fame for having won everything in his career. What a journey, what a legend. Fare thee well, my dear friend, and welcome to the world of retirement as you shall be opening a new chapter in coaching.”

Fodya’s legacy extends beyond the football pitch, resonating in the hearts of fans and aspiring young players alike.

His nickname, ‘Ahedi,’ which implies a head teacher, reflects not only his exceptional discipline on the field but also his leadership qualities. The impact of his mentorship is evident in the sentiments expressed by those who have worked closely with him, attesting to his role as a guiding force for the younger generation of footballers.

In his transition to a coaching role, Fodya’s influence is expected to continue shaping the future of FCB Nyasa Bullets. As Chief Administrative Officer Albert Chigoga remarked: “We wish him well as he takes up a coaching role within the club’s technical set-up.” The torch passes from player to mentor, ensuring that the invaluable experience gained over 14 seasons is imparted to the next generation.”

Fodya’s retirement marks the end of an era for Bullets, but his legacy will endure as a source of inspiration for generations to come. Photo by Kimpho Loka/Bullets Media.

From the dusty fields of Balaka to the grand stadiums where he etched his name in the club’s history, Fodya’s journey is a testament to talent, dedication and the enduring spirit of The People’s Team. As the red and white faithful bid farewell to their beloved left-back, they carry with them not just memories of victories but a legacy crafted by a true Bullets legend.

Honours

2012 – Presidential Cup

2014 – Carlsberg Cup

2015 – Super League of Malawi

2015 – Presidential Cup

2017 – Carlsberg Cup

2018 – Super League of Malawi

2019 – Super League of Malawi

2020 – Super League of Malawi

2021 – Airtel Top 8

2022 – Super League of Malawi

2022 – FDH Bank Cup

2023 – FDH Bank Cup

2023 – Super League of Malawi

2023 – Castel Challenge Cup

2023 – Airtel Top 8

He also won five straight Charity Shield medals.

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