Sunday, June 23, 2024

Linos Makwaza: A Dinamo legend who regrets having never played for Maite

ARGUABLY, if a book was to be written about Power Dynamos’ history, Linos Makwaza’s name would be a chapter on its own.

Despite having had stints at defunct Zesco Red Face and Luanshya side Roan United, it is at Power where Linos’ name was engraved in the history books of Zambian club football.

When the roll call for Power legends is made, Linos’ name will be called alongside the likes of Peter Kaumba and Wisdom Chansa among others.

While his father Dickson is considered a Mufulira Wanderers legend, Linos is a certified Arthur Davies cult hero evident by the fact that a testimonial match was even held in his honour in 2004.

Three decades after playing in the Power golden generation that brought Zambia’s only continental glory thus far, Linos took some time to roll back the years with Sports Mail at his residence in Ndeke, KItwe.

Spoiled for choice in terms of which sporting career to pursue, Linos abandoned playing Tennis and Squash to take up football following inspiration from his father.

“Those days in the ZCCM time, we used to have recreation centres where you can play a lot of sporting disciplines. I could play squash and badminton but I was more interested in tennis,” Linos recalls.

However, he says his love for football grew when Dickson started taking him for league matches and training sessions at Shinde Stadium in Mufulira.

Born in the family of seven, Linos is the only one who rose through the ranks and emulated his father into playing football for both club and country.

“I was inspired [into football] by dad because he used to take me for matches. Out of the whole family I showed more interest in sports and dad noticed,” Linos says.

He made a full transition from tennis to football when Dickson was moved to Luanshya from Wanderers in 1983 to coach Stylish Roan United.

Within two years of moving to Luanshya, Linos joined then Division Two side Zesco Red Face to begin his ascendance on the Zambian football ladder.

His maiden game for Red Face was a local derby against Luanshya United in which he caught the eye of many by scoring a brace, it was not before long that the big teams came calling.

Against the advice of Dickson, Ginger Pensulu convinced the Roan United hierarchy to sign Linos in a bid to win promotion from Division One to the top flight.

He may be a Power legend, but history has it that Linos was not initially destined to join the Ndeke club, rather he was first spotted by rivals Nkana.

“Nkana had their camp house in Luanshya and we used to play a lot of friendly games against them as Roan United and that is how they spotted me.

“Dreamwell Chibungo the Nkana manager approached dad and everything was finalised and I was coming to Kitwe to join Nkana,” Linos says.

However in 1986, acting on the advice of his best friend and Power player Pearson Mwanza, Linos turned down Nkana at the last minute in preference to Power.

“Pearson convinced me to join Power because he believed Nkana had a strong midfield and it would be so hard for me to break into the team at Scrivener [Nkana Stadium].

“He forced me to join Power, I listened to his advice, that is how I chanced and went to Arthur Davies,” He says.

For all his talents, Linos would truly have struggled to break into the Nkana midfield that boasted of the likes of Rueben Sakala, Jericho Shinde, Jerry Kaoma among others.

After 17 years of dedicated service to Power, Linos ranks 1991 as the most memorable year for obvious reasons.

“1991 was the most memorable one because we won almost everything that is there to be won, the difference with that team is that all these years we struggled a bit but that period we were unplayable.

“91 was different and what made us tick is that we changed our system and not so many team were using a packed midfield so it was hard to contend us,” he says.

The break into the 90s was special for Power. In 1990 they bagged a cup treble walking away with the Independence Cup, the BP Challenge Cup and the Champions of Champions Cup.

The following year they hit top gear in what remains the best season for the club and Linos himself.

The club won the league and Africa Cup Winner’s Cup which is now called the Confederation Cup.

To his credit, Linos was on the score sheet in the semi – final and the two legs of the final in the continental cup against Nigeria’s BBC Lions.

Lombe Mbalashi with Dickson Makwaza Snr and the boots

Linos and former Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda scored a goal apiece in the first leg when Power lost 3 – 2 before turning the tables in the second leg at Independence Stadium in Lusaka.

After a Webby Chilufya own goal in the 27th minute, BBC Lions looked set to defend their title but Power sparked a comeback via Robert Watyakeni in the 42nd minute.

Richard Sikanyika gave Power the lead on 58th minute before Linos decided the tie ten minutes later for Power to win 5 – 4 on aggregate.

His memorable moment was however not in the final rather, he ranks the second leg of the semi-final against Inter Stars of Burundi as his favourite game.

“Here we won 2 – 1 and Wedson Nyirenda scored both goals. When we went for the second leg away, we drew 2 – all and I scored both goals.

“To score a brace in a game that would take the us to the finals of a continental event was the most memorable moment for me,” Makwaza recalls.

Nicknamed Socrates after late Brazilian star Sócrates Brasileiro, Linos has one regret.

“Sometimes I feel bad that I never played for Mufulira Wanderers, it is a team I grew up supporting and my father played for and coached, to this day I see myself as a Wanderers supporter,” he says.

Having won four of Power’s six league titles and several cups, Linos now hopes that his son Linos Makwaza Jr will craft a legacy of his own at Arthur Davies Stadium.

Occasionally, Linos is spotted at Arthur Davies Stadium watching his former team in action.

Makwaza Jr has been a bit part player at Power since he was promoted to the team from Young Power in 2018.

Originally Published by Zambia Daily Mail on April 4, 2020

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