Photo courtesy Zach Bland / Charleston Battery
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Monday a familiar face would return to their back line this season as the club re-signed veteran defender Tamika Mkandawire to a new contract. The signing is pending federation and league approval, and per club policy, further contract details were not disclosed.
“It feel great to be back with the Rowdies for the 2018 season,” said Mkandawire. “Since joining the club in 2014, everyone in the Tampa Bay area has been fantastic with my family and me. I’m very excited to aim for the 100-game mark and join the ranks of Georgi, Keith, Yama and Frankie!”
Mkandawire joined the Rowdies midway through the 2014 season, and has made 88 appearances for Tampa Bay in all competitions. The defender will now aim to hit 100 appearances this season, and join a very select group of modern-era Rowdies players that includes Georgi Hristov, Keith Savage, Takuya Yamada, Frankie Sanfilippo and Matt Pickens.
“We’re delighted to have Tam back on our team and back in our locker room,” said Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell. “He’s the consummate professional both on and off the field. He’ll continue to be a great asset for our team in 2018.”
Mkandawire played for several clubs in the English lower leagues, including Leyton Orient, Millwall, Southend United and Shrewsbury Town, before signing with the Rowdies and becoming a mainstay in the team. The 34-year-old native of Malawi made 12 USL appearances for the Rowdies last season, including 10 starts, plus one more in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“We wanted to bring back a proven leader on the field, and Tam is exactly that,” said Rowdies Chairman & CEO Bill Edwards. “Tam has become a fan favorite since coming over from England, and he’s the type of player you want on a championship-caliber roster. He’ll be a great piece to the puzzle as we look to bring the 2018 USL Cup to St. Petersburg!”