The crowd went wild. Loud cheers and noisy vuvuzelas could be heard from almost every side of the stadium that Saturday afternoon. The Malawi national football team was now leading by two goals to nothing against their Chadian rivals with only two minutes left! Every camera was now on the man who had just scored Malawi’s second goal, which was also his second of the game. Lawrence Mofolo, or Kabaza, as he was popularly known amongst the football fraternity, was dancing at the corner flag in the opponents’ half with his teammates. The dejected faces of the Chad players, some of them standing arms akimbo, betrayed their thoughts.

It was all over.

When the referee blew the final whistle, the players on the pitch rushed to where Kabaza was standing and together, they hoisted him high on their shoulders. Their colleagues did the same with their coach, Young Phiri. Malawi, the Flames, had now qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals to be held in Botswana. And, Kabaza was deservedly named man of the match, his brilliant performance capped with two magnificent goals. He went to receive his prize and was about to leave the podium when several microphones were shoved in his face.

The men and women from different media institutions asked Kabaza a lot of questions. One reporter remained silent until the interviews were almost over. Malizeni Mangochi, renowned sports presenter for the National Broadcasting Corporation, only asked Kabaza for an exclusive interview the following day. Kabaza quickly accepted. Malizeni Mangochi beamed as he turned towards the camera and urged the nation to watch Sunday’s Sportstime television show in order to catch his exclusive interview with the wonder boy, Lawrence “Kabaza” Mofolo.

Kabaza was nervous as he prepared for his first exclusive interview on national television that Sunday night. At twenty-six, he was now one of Malawi’s hottest football players. And to think that only two years before, he had been an unknown striker playing in one of the lower leagues. That was until his current club, Lilongwe Bullets, had signed him for free. He was now the current top goal scorer in the Super League that season, a feat which saw the Flames’ coach, Young Phiri, invite him to don the national colours. He had now scored five goals in the three games he had played for the national team, including the two against Chad.

He was thinking about all this as he walked into the television studios. Kabaza was twenty minutes early, a thing which Malizeni Mangochi liked. The famous sports news personality, looking as dashing as always in his blue pinstripe suit, quickly went over some of his questions with his guest, until it was time to go live on air.

Malizeni Mangochi’s Sportstime was one of the most avidly watched television shows in the country. Everyone watched it not only because of the glamorous list of sports personalities but also because of Malizeni Mangochi’s interviewing style. The show was popular even among viewers who were not hardcore sports fans. He dwelt mainly on his guests’ sporting prowess but also delved a bit into their private lives, since most of them were somehow regarded as celebrities. Kabaza was now firmly in that category.

They talked about a lot in that interview. From Kabaza’s humble beginnings while living in his home village with his grandmother, then moving to town to live with his uncle and his family, then finally achieving success on the football field with his magnificent style of play and his eye for goals. It was when the interview was nearing its end that Malizeni Mangochi asked a question that surprised Kabaza.

“So, on a more personal note, Kabaza, is there someone special in your life?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know, a girlfriend, fiancé…?”

Kabaza gave a short laugh before responding. “No, I do not have a wife or girlfriend. Not yet, anyway.”

Malizeni Mangochi was persistent. “And why not? Surely a famous, handsome young man like you has no trouble with the ladies.”

“Well, it is not really about that,” Kabaza began. “I want to be able to support my partner. Take her out, provide everything she needs. I need to be financially stable before I can handle all that. So, until I feel I can manage that, no girlfriend.”

“So let me get this straight,” Malizeni Mangochi said, shifting to the edge of his seat. “If you had enough money in the bank right now, you would probably have a girlfriend or, better yet, a wife?”

“Well, it’s not that simple but yes, I probably would, Malizeni.”

The interview went on quickly after that. At least, it seemed that way for Kabaza. He went back to the dusty, medium density location with a smile on his face, amused by the girlfriend question. He was sure his uncle and aunt would tease him about it, even his two young cousins. But they all just congratulated him on how calm and composed he was during the whole interview, not to mention how great he looked. And that was that.


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