Having joined the Malawian Defence Force seven years ago, playing in arguably the biggest League in Africa was beyond Baroka striker Richard Mbulu’s wildest dreams.
Mbulu joined the military at the age of 19 to follow in his father’s footsteps who is also a solider and was also a football player but did not make it professionally.
It was at the Malawi Armed Forces FC where Mbulu jr. (who won the Malawian Golden Boot with 19 goals), caught the attention of outside scouts prompting his move to Mozambican giants Costa do Sol.
Although he also had a stint at Portuguese semi-professional side Sanjoanense, it was during his second spell at Costa do Sol where he caught Bakgaga’s attention who eventually signed him on a 3-year-deal last year.
FARPost sat down with the 26-year-old at the Baroka Village, Lebowakgomo on Wednesday to reflect on his military journey, adjusting in the PSL and his ambitions.
“Yah, I have always wanted to be a soldier because my father is also a soldier and he is still working there so I went to the Malawi Armed Forces College because even me in my heart I have always wanted to be a soldier”
“As soldiers we believe in discipline so everywhere you go you must behave so I have been pushing hard here at Baroka though I am still waiting for my first goal,” he explained.
“Because I don’t drink or smoke, I spend most of the time alone at my flat watching old matches or walk around knowing the places but I spend most of my time focusing on football”.
The Malawian international has played in 24 of the 27 matches without a goal for Baroka in all competitions this season and admits he could do better.
“What I can say is I know things are not working now in terms of scoring but as a player you must never look down. You must always look up because every player can go through a bad phase even in Europe it happens but they never keep their head down. I know I am good with scoring but I just need to continue working hard so that goals can eventually come”.
The striker is still part of the Malawi Armed Forces but is on an unpaid leave that allows him to pursue his professional football career.
By Ofhani Munyai