By Mario Antoine
It is a privilege for me to pay tribute to an outstanding Malawi legend footballer who was outstanding as a goalkeeper for the Flames and Wanderers.
I met him on my visit to Malawi last year when I presented my book “A History of Nyasaland and Malawi Football Volume One 1935 to 1969” to the President of FAM Walter Nyamilandu.
What can we say about this great custodian who was one of the 50 players to have achieved over half a century cap for his country. In fact his total of 61 caps places him in the top 40 Malawi appearances (38th place) since he last played in 1980, which was 43 years ago, a really great achievement.
Boniface made his Malawi debut against Kenya (0-1) on 25 October 1972 in Lilongwe at the very tender age of 17 years and 47 days. Earlier in the month of August, he featured for Malawi Schools in a narrow defeat against Zambia Schools (2-3),when he came in a substitute replacing Kelston Kumwembe.
Under coach Ted Powell, he was part of the squad that travelled to England in both 1978 and 1979. In the same years the Flames won the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup (ECASCC) against Zambia and Kenya respectively.
Maganga’s 61 caps places him third in the goal keepers appearances behind John Dzimbiri (83 caps) and Swadick Sanudi (63 caps). He is also third on clean Sheets with 23 to his name and trails John Dzimbiri (26) and Donnex Gondwe with 25.
He travelled to 10 different countries that saw him feature against 17 countries and his record of 47.5%-win record is yet another great achievement.
His defensive ratio record of 1.2 goals conceded per game is also impressive.
In 1979, he was unbeaten in five consecutive games against Lesotho, Kenya and Tanzania and it was his best year as he kept eight clean sheets in 13 games.
Boniface played in five successive ECASCC tournaments between 1975 and 1979 and featured in three Finals. He won twice in 79 and 79 and was on the losing side to against Kenya in 1975.
Another highlight of his career was that he was never a loser during the Independence Celebrations that he featured in 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978 and 1979 where all the games were won with a 18-2 aggregate scoreline.
Amongst the losing countries were Mauritius 4-1, Ivory Coast 5-1, Sierra Leone 5-0 and Kenya twice 3-0 and 1-0.
Rest in Peace Boniface Maganga and thank you for the wonderful memories you have left behind, a real Malawi Soccer Legend.