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Zambian Football – The current state of affairs

Filed under: Special Comments,Sports |
File: Kalusha Bwalya during his soccer career

File: Kalusha Bwalya during his soccer career

By Michael ‘Ba Zambia’ Muchinga

From the time she stormed the maiden AFCON finals in 1974, through to the time she shocked the world in 1988 by beating the world best, to producing the only African footballer of year in the Southern Region to date, through to the time she lost the arguably best team the country has ever produced in 1993, through to shocking the world by resurrecting from the ashes of the Gabon disaster by reaching the AFCON 94 finals only losing out to the Super Eagles.

Moving on to the 96 AFCON with scintillating vigor only to lose out to Tunisia then she dipped in form in 98 to 2000 even missing out 2004 AFCON in Tunisia. The overdue rebuilding process began through to the ultimate crowning as Champions in 2012 yet we still seem to struggle; Zambian football where have we gone wrong?

Despite the rich history that Zambia has shown with a lot of experience that may have been gained, we as a Country seem never to learn. In football circles just like in mainstream politics, we have people that have been in football Administration long enough yet it seems they are benefitting more from the game than the game is benefitting from their supposedly acquired knowledge and experience.

Truly speaking over years and after the demise of the late Michael Mwape (MHSRIP) Zambia has had a fair share of squabbles in fact for those who have dared to follow the FAZ history, you will learn that only two Presidents of FAZ have managed to live their full terms, those are Mr Kasunga and Mr Mulonga, all the others except for Mr Mwape who died in the Gabon disaster either resigned or had there executive dissolved.


Kalusha Bwalya

Kalusha Bwalya

The current state of affairs of Soccer in Zambia is not as a result of what started happening yesterday it comes from time immemorial. The way we have adopted to run football in this country needs to be changed. This is at FAZ level and Club level. Kalusha Bwalya has a chance to make further history in this nation if he can strike a last minute freekick by reorganizing the secretariat.

The truth of the matter is that Kalusha needs to change his team at FAZ, he needs people that will advise him on the true status of our football. The recent results speak for themselves, these results are a building cancer which started before 2012 AFCON victory, If Kalu had visionary people at the secretariat to support him, they would have advised on how to sustain the chipolopolo legacy after AFCON victory. But alas, we hid our national team from playing friendlies, we failed to capitalize on our new status as Champions, I wonder how much we made from the Chipolopolo brand. The results showed in 2013, yet again we hid our faces in the sand. We consoled ourselves by saying “at least we came out without a loss’.

Today we have failed at all levels and we are talking of rebuilding a team, I am asking myself what the hell has the technical department at FAZ been doing since 2012? What was there strategy to keep our football afloat? I can guess NOTHING!
Kalusha needs to crack the whip if he has a dream of contesting the 2016 elections; if he wants to go through he needs to do away with some people beginning with the Secretary General. It is obvious there are great lapses in the operations of the SGs office. Further he needs to reorganize the technical department because currently they can’t justify their existence if at all they exist.

On the ground concillors are busy talking, they are not happy at all. We have heard how people have created a Condon around Kalusha so that others do not have a chance to meet him, personally having met Kalu and discussed football with him at the time we had the Andrew Kamanga led ‘FAZ’ I found him to be charming and understanding, focused and down to earth. (do not argue, that’s how I found him to be).

He should open up FAZ to the people who believe in him, not those that show loyalty to him just because of what is in for their benefit, He should do it for a counselor and club from Mapanza who genuinely voted for him and yet meeting him is just but a dream.
We want FAZ to be able to show us long term plans of development of Junior teams, seriously we have one of a rare breed of class among the U17 and U20 but the plan FAZ has for these youngsters does not seem clear enough, I wonder how many will fully graduate to the U23 and senior team and play consistently.


At club level we have seen the same cancer of people holding to positions as if they were born to be life administrators, we are not seeing the innovation and creativity of making their clubs marketable. We still have old fashioned administrators who still depend on Funding from sponsors, they can’t think outside the box. Our football at club level has been dominated by the clubs with a bit more organized structure.

Like it or not, it is the caliber of people serving on the committees and there understanding of what they need to do in their positions that makes clubs tick. Clubs need people that will think strategically, that will have a life plan for the club and not only people who will be satisfied with surviving relegation and be in the super league.

The philosophy of junior teams at club level has died out in our Country. Only a few teams have these structures today. That is the reason why we find same old players moving from one club to another, Sponsors should take an interest in ensuring their monies are well planned for on meaningful ventures that will move the club to higher heights.

Club administrator cannot run away from contributing to the status of our soccer because they have been below par. Despite the xenophobia in South Africa, clubs can ask some of the teams there for an exchange of ideas or programs so that administrators are attached even for two weeks and see how back room football is organized, and see how they can implement that at their clubs.

Many administrators think it’s just being called ‘ati ba chairman’, that is a strategic position that can thrive a club or kill it. Sponsors, reorganize your administrations of your clubs, make them in such a way that will make a club grow, put in place effective and efficient leaders not putting people just because he is a Human Resource person at the Sponsor’s company then you say ‘Ba Secretary’.

Put people that have the interest of the club at heart and above all WHO HAVE THE SKILL TO MANAGE THE CLUB
Despite the strides that the few named clubs have shown, at international level we still draw a blank. This shows that we still have something amiss in our football, what is it that we are missing?

The answer lies in all of us, Football is ours, let us open up the running of these clubs, let our coaches also work hard to improve their skills, honestly despite all the training clinics they seem to attend under FAZ, they still show a lack of technical analysis of game. FOR HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO BE BALL BOYS TO EXPARTRIAT COACHES? FOR HOW LONG WILL YOU BE ASSISTANTS TO UNDER QUALIFIED WHITE COACHES? STAND UP AND BE COUNTED, it’s not just being on that bench and being called “ba coacher” do the needful, you can do it because Samuel Ndlhovu did it, Godfrey Chitalu did, Bright Banda did it so can you.
It’s now 86 years of FAZ existence since its formation in 1929 but still we are struggling with basic administrative issues in our game, the problem is way bigger than what we see on the pitch, it begins from the back office.


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