Former Zambia international striker Philemon Mulala was tragically mauled to death by his three pet dogs earlier this week. The 60-year-old was found by his wife in his garden and was announced dead on the scene. Tributes have been paid to the former Mufulira Wanderers and Cape Town Spurs star, who was living in South Africa at the time of his death.
A police statement, read by spokesperson Captain Sam Tselanyane, revealed how Mulala was found by his wife, Lillian Chileshe. “She did not bother to go and check what was wrong [when the dogs were barking] as their house is situated on a busy street and the dogs frequently barked at pedestrians and vehicles passing by,” it read.
“After the electricity was restored [after loadshedding], she went inside looking for her husband, but could not find him. Upon continuing with her search, the woman saw her husband lying motionless outside in the garden.
“She then went outside, only to find that the husband was bitten by their dogs, two staffie or pitbull crossings and one unknown breed dog. Police and Emergency Medical Rescue Services were called and the man was certified dead at the scene.”
The three dogs, named Prosper, Blessing and Bulldozer, were subsequently removed from the scene by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They had lived with the family since they were puppies, according to News24, and Lillian revealed she ‘never thought the dogs would turn against us’.
Mulala made just six appearances for Zambia throughout his career, though his impact was incredibly significant. The versatile player, who played in defence and attack, was central to his nation’s first-ever competition win, the 1984 East and Central Africa Championship (CECAFA).
Despite making his international debut just a few days prior, Mulala was brought on in the semi-finals of the competition and scored twice to put his side through. Zambia went on to win then went on to win the entire competition.
The Zambian FA paid tribute to their former player, touching on his important role in their 1984 success – their first since independence. Spokesperson Sydney Mungala said: “It’s such a tragic end. Many who watched him, especially fans of Mufulira Wanderers, have been pouring out their grief.
“Many remember him from the national team days, where he won Zambia’s first major post-independence silverware. [Since retiring] he had ventured into business in South Africa.”