The death has been announced of former Nchanga Rangers great Willie Phiri.

The former Rangers and Zambia midfielder from the 70’s died at midday today at Nchanga South Hospital in Chingola from a bone infection.

Phiri has been wheelchair-bound for the last 18 years after a road traffic accident near Kabwe on his way to Lusaka from Chingola on a player scouting mission.

He was Rangers coach at the time of his accident where he had been on the bench since 1984.

Phiri, 59 played for Rangers for over 15 years where he began his playing career before retiring in 1983.

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69 COMMENTS

  1. Condelence to his family.. Yes he was one of the greatest players of the 1970s .. I use to enjoy listening to Dennis Liwewe (commentator) on radio when I was a young boy heading cattle in the gwembe valley ..

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  2. Willie Phiriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Denis Liwewe would shout from the commentary box. How sad that Willie Phiri iz no more. May the good Lord Jehova God give strength and confort to the family and friendz.
    1. JOHN KAUNDA
    2. JOSEPH MUKWANGU
    3. ELIAS CHONGO
    4. MOFFAT MUTAMBO
    5. JIM SALIMU
    6. CHIPUNGU
    7. PATRICK NKHATA
    8. ALBERT KATAYI
    9. GEORGE MOFYA
    10. WILLIE PHIRI
    11. PHILLIMON MBEWE 
    That’s the Brave Rangers of thoze gone yearz.

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    • :(( it is hard to believe he is gone we sadly miss him. Mama Bill we are with you in the prayers. STONE NYIRENDA AND FAMILY

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  3. Rest in peace. I used to go to school with his brother-in -law in Chingola.

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  4. No. 5 U are indeed very knowledgeble of the past Zambian Football. Am suprised that u can remember all those names. He was a great player for both Nchanga Rangers and the national team. By then their Nchanga Stadium was called Gabidazy. These men used to play football not for money but pride for mother Zambia. It was really nice to be in Chingola, and it was the cleanest Town in Zambia. We shall miss the man, hope Rangers was caring for him from the time he was in that fatal accident to date since it was their mission.

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  5. One of the greatest wingers Zambia  ever produced. in the days when we  had great teams in Zambia. Until we match that Div 1 football will be a poor competitor on the inernational scene.  Rest in peace oh great one and inspire our youngsters to much greater heights.

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  6. For those of us who grew up in the 70s/80s, mention the name Willie Phiri and you can almost hear Dennis Liwewe’s Commentaries reverberating from a two-band transistor radio once again. It was a wonderful period for competitive soccer in Zambia.

    @5, THE ONLY LIVING JAY: I too like your tribute my man!!

    REST IN PEACE Mr. Phiri!!!

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    • Yep……i can almost hear them on ITT – Supersonic radio(my father had a green one)  or the two-band transistor radio….those where the good old days…

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    • He is was among the best midfielders in the land. He played for the national team for a long time. His midfield partner was Jani Simulambo.

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  7. Ba Kapoche

    He was an excellent footballer and one of the best we have ever produced. I remember watching him for Zambia against the Uganda Cranes at Dag. He had silky skills. He would definitely make it into the “Greatest Zambia Eleven” Team. 

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  8. Watching him at Gabbitas stadium as a young Chingola boy was great, those were the days.
    May you rest in peace.

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  9. Willie Phiri, May Your Soul Rest In Eternal Peace. He was a great midfielder, great member of the KK11. Linked well with the other greats of the 70’s in the national team, such as Godfrey Chitalu, Boniface Simutowe, Brighton Sinyangwe, Bizwell Phiri, Ackim Musenge etc. Man…those were players!
    I remember trooping to Railway Ground in Kabwe, my home town every other Sunday (the league games were not played on Saturdays those days). No 5 the Only Living Jay, I like your input and memory. John Kaunda was a great keeper and Jim Salimu was a very intelligent defender whom even ‘Ucar’ used to find hard to beat.

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    • What happened to Bizwell Phiri? I met him in Germany when he was training to coach the Kabwe Warriors.

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  10. Indeed a tragic time for Nchanga town on the loss of Willie Phiri, this midfield genius in his heyday in the 70s.I remember it was soccer at its best at Dag Hammerskjoeld stadium in Ndola those 70s and early 80s with Vincent Nkole or Ghost Mulenga in goal, Milton Muke, Kaiser Kalambo, John ‘Tools and Hardware’ Kalusa, Emmy Musonda, Michael Musonda, Robert Lutoba, Moses Simwala, Jani Simulambo, Willie Phiri, Alex ‘Computer’ Chola, Godfrey ‘Ucar kalapashi’ Chitalu, Peter ‘Abaleya’ Kaumba, Francis Kajiya and others. We never used to lose at Dag, which was erased in 1986 to pave way for the construction of a new stadium as Zambia had been chosen to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 1988, which we lamentably faild to host, let alone to build a new stadium. The rest is history. MHSRIP.

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  11. WILLIE PHIRI MAY YOU REST IN PEACE MY BROTER AAMEEN ,MY DEEPEST CONDOLANCES TO THE FAMILY AND THE RELETIVES OF THE LATE FOOTBALL LEGEND.

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  12. Sad to learn of Mr Willie Phiri’s death just a few weeks after Mr Chongo another great soccer player died.  I used go to school with his late young brother Edu Phiri at Chingola High where we attend same class in the last two years of Secondary school.  Edu also played for Nchanga Rangers B team and Chingola High Soccer team.  God comfort his family. 

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  13. Sad to learn of Mr Willie Phiri’s death just a few weeks after Mr Chongo another great soccer player died.  I used go to school with his late young brother Edu Phiri at Chingola High where we attended same class in the last two years of Secondary school.  Edu also played for Nchanga Rangers B team and Chingola High Soccer team.  God comfort his family. 

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  14. He was on the famous 1974 Zambia National team caoched by Ante buselic , with the likes of Chitalu, Benard chanda, Dick Chama, Emmanuel Mwape, Moses Simwala , Boniface Simutowe etc . He was no winger but Midfielder No 6 back in the day when bola was bola not thes bums we have now !!

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  15. # 5. I like your input. We need such info for the next generation of footballers to learn from. I never got to watch him play but my late father, a Kabwe Warriors supporter used to talk about Willie’s exceptional skills. MHSRIP.

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  16. MHSRIN. Its indeed a great loss to Zambia and more especially ama Ranger. Zambia should honor him by beating Mozambique by a big margin tomorrow

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  17. Hey, People, are we saying that there is no one in the Zambian public media to put up a picture in this Forum for all of to see what he looked like? We are now living in a digital age, pictures can be loaded up for all to see the great guy.

    Liwewe should be contacted to start archiving materials on Zambian soccer from 1964 to date. Use his presence to the advantage of all Zambians instead of by-passing him when he has such a phenomenal national soccer presence for generations!

    Willie Phiri, MYSRIP.

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  18. To the phiri family, may the lord give you strength. i was born in chingola and i still remember when we used to go to watson stadium to watch nchanga rangers train. i used to live in 7th street and mr phiri was living in 8th street.To his children, william, fumbani, michelle, my condolences. MHSRIP

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  19. # 5 and # 22 you are great men who have given us insight of what used to happen in those days, i almost cried when you mentioned those great names in the world Zambian soccer, we shall greatly miss them all.May H.S.R.I.E.P

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  20. Mbuzi actually Willie could play at both 6 and 8/10 specially when you had to accomodate Jericho Shinde at 6 or Boniface Simutowe..the wingers were Bizwell Phiri and Brigton Sinyangwe one at 7 and the other at 11 ofcourse with a preference for Moses ‘Chairman’ Simwala, Willie could drop if we played Benard Chanda who could play at 10/9 for the national team but if he was Brave he was in a more attacking role…coached in Bots as well for a longtime…

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  21. Another Sporting Hero that remained humble in his career & served mother zambia selflessly!! Definately a National Hero!!
    MHSRIP!

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  22. Agree with #30 & 31. More so that we are playing at Nchanga – Zambia should honour his passing by winning, NOTHING LESS!!

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  23. I feel so sad. I remember those times we used to go to GABITAZ and shout- Brave Brave Rangers!! Rangers – Rangers (multiply by 100) with one Chief Supporter called ‘SOFIA’ leading the chantings. MHSRIP

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  24. May the almighty lord comfort the phiri family on this trying moment.I remeber him play along side my late father Dick Chama snr and he was a very cool man but tough on the pitch.Once more M.H.S.R.I.P

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  25. It is so sad! he was a midfield genius and a gentleman. The whole Gabbitas Stadium would shout Willie! Willie! when he was on the ball. He also was the master of the banana short. MHSRIP

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  26. Great loss to the football fratenity!!!! I also remember watching him playing at Nkoloma stadium in the 80″s. He was a skillful player worth remembering. Those days as small boys we would walk all the way from mtendere without any money in the pocket but to go and jump over the stadium fense just to watch the likes of Patrick Phiri, Funny Hangunyu, Authur Phiri, John Zyambo, Benard Mutale (Tools and Hardware) to mention but a few. Those were really great days. This time each time i pass near Nkoloma stadium, I shiver imagining how i used to risk my life jumping over that tall fense.

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  27. I recently saw him at his home in chingola when I went there visiting.RIP great playa!!#17 Kapoche by the time you were being born in 92 he was already retired.Its nice to know that a young man like you can be interested in the old greats…keep it up!!!

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  28. 1. Ghost Muelnga
    2. Milton Muke
    3. Kaiser Kalambo
    4. Emmy Musonda
    5. Michael Musonda
    6. Jani Simulambo
    7. xx
    8. Willie Phiri
    9. Alex Chola
    10. Jack Chanda
    11. Peter Kaumba

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  29. Mr Willie Phri A.K.A Bill produced great players like Stone Nyirenda, Geoffrey Mulenga A.K,A FreJoe, Ignatius Muswala, Bruce Mwape, Peter Mwanza, Benjamin ‘Tigana’ Bwalya to mention a few. He left Nchanga Rangers to coach in Botswana. But the legend still came back to his childhood club until that fateful day in 1993 when he had an accident during the club assignment. He had been watching Nchanga Rangers playing, from his special car park near the VIP wing (RESERVED FOR WILLIE PHIRI) Condolonces to the family and MHSRIP.

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  30. May Your Soul Rest in peace Edu. Memories are hard to erase. You were a an all rounder in sport and you were our icon. We played basketball together. You steered other football players such a John kaunda to play BB when off season footaball.

    When the likely burial date? does some one know?

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  31. This is very sad indeed. You are a true Brave Nchanga Rangers hero. # 5 Thanks for that line up. Willie Phiri groomed alot of players who broke into the European market like Stone Nyirenda. Willie Phiri was a great soccer coach and player in his days. MHSRIP

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  32. i remember listening to DENIS LIWEWE on a 2 band radio those dayswhen i was a young boy in chimwemwe shouting the name of Great Willie Phiri playing for Nchanga or the KK11.wat a loss for mother zambia and the family of the Phiris.#3 and #23 you have made me cry, that is good but painful memory.i once again appeal as did a few months ago that people like Denis Liwewe must be supported so that they write down the history of our soccerin this country so that our children can know about the achienements our present and fallen heroes like peter kaumba,francis kajiya,fred mwila,jerico shinde,alex chola,chitalu godfrey,jani simulambo,moffat mutambo,robert lutoba milton muke.MHSRIP

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  33. i remember listening to DENIS LIWEWE on a 2 band radio those days when i was a young boy in chimwemwe shouting the name of Great Willie Phiri playing for Nchanga or the KK11.wat a loss for mother zambia and the family of the Phiris.#3 and #23 you have made me cry, that is good but painful memory.i once again appeal as did a few months ago that people like Denis Liwewe must be supported so that they write down the history of our soccer in this country so that our children can know about the achienements our present and fallen heroes like peter kaumba,francis kajiya,fred mwila,jerico shinde,alex chola,chitalu godfrey,jani simulambo,moffat mutambo,robert lutoba milton muke.MHSRIP

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  34. Sad indeed. I remember the section called pakansele at Gabidas. He was a great footballer

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  35. It is indeed A Loss! I remember we used to climb the Wall, near “Pa kanyangu” just to watch this great midfielder and Brave Nchanga Rangers! Pa Gabbitas Staduim… Remember also Damascus Senkwe!   I will always cherish Ba Willie Phiri!… Comfort and the Joy of The LORD be the Strength of the Family..

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  36. My profound condolences to the Phiri family on the loss of one of the greatest soccer stars to come out of Chingola and Zambia.
    I was a young boy watching Willie Phiri at Gabitas in the 70s, he simply was a marvel to watch in line with George Mofya (50 50), JK (John Kaunda), Damascus Senkwe, Moffat M’tambo, Davy Sunday, Anthony eeeh! Let me not get tickled people… those were galant men who played football for the love of the game! MHSRIP.
    “Chikoti chakwa Phiri, chabe cha pombana, ngawati wikateko chapwa wasebana.. ” that’s we used to sing from the 1234 Corner!

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  37. This is very sad news..indeed bilz was a great coach and player. I watched him as a coach-player and full time coach…very intelligent coach who groomed one of the most formidable ever Brave Rangers’ teams( 1985-99 )..Manfred Chabinga, Peter Mwanza ( MHSRIP), Webby Chikabala ( MHSRIP), Simon Mwansa..these four went to seoul 1988 with the great kalu., Godrey Kangwa ( MHSRIP), Alex Singini, Gilbert Mukumbo, Stone Nyirenda ( Seoul 88 ), Bruce Mwape ( Current Brave Rangers and under-23 coach)..the list is too long. MYSRIP coach bilz and your reserved car park space at the stadium should be maintained as a way to honor you.

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  38. Its unbelievable that Willie is no more a few days after losing another greatest player by the name of Wawa Chongo. Willie put in everything for Nchanga Rangers i remember each time his team was about to be demoted he played as a player Coach just to save the team from relagation. This player has reminded me of the greatest players of his high days, Moses Simwala, Ackim Musenge, Vincent Chileshe, Zambani Sailota,Obbie Kapita,Lewis Shambulo, Kaiser Kalambo. I wish we could have burial site for cerebrity. REST IN PEACE WILLIE

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  39. 1978 where I watched all the home games for Nchanga Rangers at Gabi. Lineup, first game in 1978 season. 1. John Kaunda, 2. Joesph Mukwangu, 3. Antoni Precido Mavole Bwali, 4. Moffat Mutambo, 5 Jim Salim, 6. Rodwell Matete, 7. Patrick Nkata, 8. Little Joe Musonada, 9 50 50, 10 Willie the lone bomber Wille Phiri as ba Kazman John Mulumba used to call him under his program ifyangalo pano isonde naleka cause I can cry over ba Willie – Justice

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  40. ifya ngalo pano sonde sorry but I touched by the loss of my BIG MAN, Bronco Bill Willie Phiri

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  41. 1.Ghost Muelnga
    2. Milton Muke
    3. Kaiser Kalambo
    4. Emmy Musonda
    5. Michael Musonda
    6. Jani Simulambo
    7.Jack Chanda 8. Willie Phiri
    9. Alex Chola
    10. Ashios Melu
    11. Peter Kaumba. This team was on a post card in 1982 in the famous Admiral Copper Jersey with the Black Short. This Team went to Libya as well. its was in libya where the late John”Libya ” Kalusa displaced the Great Kaiser Kalambo for the number 3 postion. Mmmh, those were the days.

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  42. The big with his education and palying foot helped a lot of schools going children to take up foot durings days.I remember your last time to play at woodlands stadium,when told the papers that this was my game of life.This was due to your pomotion to a higher level of a boss.Mulale muchibote and let God bring more blessings on the phiri family

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  43. Condolences indeed to his family. its a loss again for Zambian Soccer. at least i watched him in his closing years of his football career when he was player coach for the brave Nchanga rangers. midfielder maestro. he scored those corners straight and the free kicks like bekham and kalu. he was a joy to watch indeed at gabidaz. it was sad to see him confied to the wheel chair after that deadly accident at the prime of his life when football in this country needed him most. MHSRIEP.
    Twalosha ba willie Phiri.

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  44. .Ante. Buselic did put him on the wing I remember. In the days of 442 the wingers died

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  45. Wow! Reading through all your coments and knowing jus how many pipo where with us durin our time of sorrow. Its been a year now and I miss my dad so much, I was only 11months old wen he was in the accident and now I am 20 yrs old I loved hearing all his stories about the time he played, he was so passionate about soccer that his passion grew to b my own! I miss him so much but he is in Gods keeping but in all our hearts! RIP DADDY!!!!! -yo baby girl-

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