Harambee Stars mourn Malawi vice president in wake of tragic plane crash

Harambee Stars mourn Malawi vice president in wake of tragic plane crash

Festus Chuma 10:57 - 12.06.2024

Malawi was struck by tragedy as a plane crash claimed the life of Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has expressed profound sorrow following the tragic death of the Republic of Malawi Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, along with nine others, in a devastating plane crash.

The statement was released by FKF’s head of communications, Kenn Okaka, after authorities confirmed the discovery of the wreckage, which went missing on Monday and was found on Tuesday with no survivors.

The loss of Vice President Chilima is felt deeply by Harambee Stars, who were in Malawi for their FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers.

The team was compelled to play their matches in Lilongwe after the closure of major stadiums in Kenya, a situation that has also adversely affected athletics training for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

In an emotional statement, Okaka highlighted the warmth and hospitality extended by the Malawian people during their challenging stay.

"I want to take a moment to express our heartfelt appreciation for the incredible support and hospitality we've received from the people of Malawi during our time in Lilongwe. It's clear that Lilongwe is a fantastic place for Kenya, not just as a venue for football matches but also for the warmth and welcoming spirit extended to us by the local community," he wrote.

However, the joy of sportsmanship was overshadowed by the somber news of the Vice President's passing, which coincided with the day of their match against Ivory Coast—a game that ended in a 1-1 draw.

"However, it is with a heavy heart that we learned of the passing of Malawi's Vice President on the day of our game against Ivory Coast. This loss is deeply saddening, and our thoughts are with the people of Malawi during this difficult time," Okaka added.

The federation, along with the entire sports community, extends its deepest condolences to the nation of Malawi and particularly to the family and loved ones of Dr. Chilima.

"The resilience and graciousness shown by the people of Malawi, even in the face of such a significant loss, are truly admirable. We stand with you in mourning and hope for comfort and peace for all affected by this tragedy. May God bless the people of Malawi. Your strength and spirit in these trying times are an inspiration to us all," Okaka concluded.

The accident occurred just hours before the scheduled match against Ivory Coast, casting a pall over the event.

On Tuesday, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera announced the tragic news, stating that the aircraft had crashed on a hill, leaving no survivors.

Dr. Chilima, who was born on February 12, 1973, had been a significant political figure in Malawi, having first assumed office on May 30, 2014, and was sworn in for a second term on June 28, 2020.

His passing marks a profound loss not only for Malawi but for the entire region, resonating across diplomatic and sports communities alike.

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