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What made Denis Liwewe stand out!

Philip Denis Liwewe was born on 10th January,1936 in Malawi,and moved to Zambia in 1960 to join Nchanga weekly Newspaper a newspaper owned by mines before he later joining Zambia Consolidated copper mines under the capacity of Media director and public relations. He was also a teacher by profession

After he retired in 1986, He became a motivational speaker mostly built on love of football and TV commentary but had to quit after being told by his friend he was a total disaster in this area but he didn’t quit for good as he tried radio were he went so many years practicing especially in the bush and came out as storm.

He quit commentary in 1993 when he heard the news that the entire Zambian national soccer team perished in Atlantic ocean, off the coast of Gabon on 27th April 1993 and was supposed to be part of the travelling contigent but due to unknown reason he remained back. Upon receiving the news,Liwewe was admitted in the intensive care unit and later was evacuated to South Africa for further treatment and would later retire from commentary on doctor’s advice.

What really made him plunge into such sorrow was the fact that he saw the players growing up as zambia’s under 14,17,20 and 23 and seeing them perish in his presence was very painful.

What is commentary?

It is an expression of opinions or offering of explanations about the event or situation in a descriptive spoken account as it happens.

Denis liwewe and commentary

Commentary in football is a descriptive,detailed and well analysed account of what is happening with the aim of enriching viewers or listeners with capturing and crispy moments and knowledge. The aim is to give viewers and listeners a live feeling so that they experience the frenzy by driving all their attention to the event.

It is a catalyst to experiencing nice football moments. Even when the game is not so entertaining, if commentaries are,people will stay glued to the event.

What made the late Denis Liwewe a stand-out figure as a commentator was the command he stamp on football. It didn’t just come on its own,they say respect has to be fought for through hardwok and that’s what Philip Denis Liwewe did. He took time working and finding the right pitch and tone coupled with catchy words to capture the attention of listeners and make them visualize the event.

He took time(years) practicing in the bush and in the shower infront of his unamused wife. All this was done with the idea of him trying to find the right rhythm,identify the gaps in the commentary circles and meet the expectations and demands.

He understood the formations of football,knew the profiles of players. He knew their ability and what they could do with the ball when placed in a particular area of the field. He knew the strength of each player in the Zambian national team setup thereby giving him accurate prediction of the outcome of each move. Knowing the demands and expectations of soccer fans and also knowing the strength and weakness of each player and giving correct predictions and opinions made him win respect from everyone.

He could enter Independence Stadium when it was filled to capacity and whole stadium would give him a thunderous roar as he waves his arms back at them and immediately the atmosphere in the stadium would be electrified. He carried with him an aura of power and hypernormal.

The football fans would come with radios to the stadium and glue them to their ears and if Kenneth Kaunda is in attendance,his bodyguard would carry him a radio. People at home,clubs could turn off the volumes of their TV sets and turn to radio to hear Denis Liwewe who could make them picture the football event, out of this world really, as he made them focused to the match.

Before the player could shoot and score,he could rip the radio apart as he could say “ Open fiiiiiiiire and it’s a goooooooooooal”,what a commentator he was.

People could burst into frenzy before even the actual goal is scored. He could do this because he understood football and the players.

“The ball has hit the crossbar and ricocheted back into play and they counter attack again, Charles Musonda has made a 360 degree turn to give the ball to Kalu on the edge of the 18 yards box to open fiiiiire and it’s a goooooooal…Kalu Kalu Kalu Kalu Kalu!!!”

He could give detailed and yet catchy description of the event exactly as they are happening as he could interprete mood,read moments,architecture the pace with a clear blending vision. He was a master of his voice

He knew that football is entertainmnent and if people can’t find enjoyment in the actual match,commentary should fill the void and provide the entertainment. He could pull the crowd to him, A true legend.

Not all Zambian national soccer team matches were so entertaining but because he could command the entertainment in them,he made people who were there to believe and who have never watched the Zambian national of then who at the time were young or were not born believe that all Zambian national soccer team matches were so entertaining. He stamped command on the game.

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2 Comments to What made Denis Liwewe stand out!

  1. Frog says:

    Indeed he was a legend

  2. Collen Magasa says:

    Had a huge impact in Zim too up now our commentators like Charles Mabika and the late Evans Mambara imitated him but never surpassed him .he had an impact on me personally we used to chune into radio Zambia for commentary

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