Zambian legend Kenneth ‘Bubble’ Malitoli was part of the people from the football circles who attended the 100 years (Centenary) Celebrations for Tunisian giants Esperance Sportive de Tunis.
Malitoli who is still very much loved in Tunisia following his exploits with the current holders of the CAF Champions League 22 years ago was invited by the club chairman Hamdi Meddeb to represent all former Esperance players from outside Tunisia.
La légende 💖 Kenneth Malitoli invitée au centenaire 💯 de l’Espérance, ce mardi, et représentera pour l’occasion l’ensemble des joueurs étrangers (que nous saluons tous sans exception) ayant endossé le maillot sang et or ❤️💛 pic.twitter.com/RhSfEA5PLU
— Espérance de Tunis 💯 (@ESTuniscom) February 17, 2019
Malitoli was very grateful to the Esperance Chairman for inviting him and was very excited to be back in the company of the Esperance family.
“Am very happy to be here. It’s a rare privilege hence am grateful to the chairman Mr Hamdi for inviting me. If you are an Esperance fan this is where you should be,” he said in an interview.
MOVE TO ESPERANCE
Malitoli won the 1989 Zambia Super League Golden Boot award and remained it the following two years and declared he would win it in 1992 as it had become a personal to holder.
His prolific nature in front of of goal caught the attention of many clubs including Germany club 1. FC Union Berlin who were keen to land the signature of Malitoli.
After impressing on trial, he was set to join the German club in 1991 but changed his mind and turned back at Lusaka International Airport, deciding that the monetary aspect of the deal was not worthwhile.
After more negotiations, Malitoli got an improved offer but when he was left out of Zambia’s 1992 Africa Cup squad, the German club, disappointed at not seeing their target in action at the continental showpiece, changed their minds and instead signed his club mate Gibby Mbasela who impressed at the tournament, with Nkana officials agreeing to swapping the two players on the same contract terms.
The Zambian goal machine joined Tunisian Giants Esperance that same year won the top scorer award in his first full season with 18 league goals.
The following season he scored 14 goals to tie with Abdelkader Belhassen as top goal scorer. In 1994 Malitoli became the first Zambian player to win the CAF Champions League when Esperance beat Zamalek of Egypt 3–1 on aggregate .
He also won the 1995 CAF Super Cup when Esperance beat Motema Pemba 3–0. Malitoli left Esperance in 1996 and joined Saudi Arabian club El Ettifaq.
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