I followed the rants between Zesco United and the Chipolopolo technical bench keenly and feel something is not right with this deal that saw striker Winston Kalengo sign a one-year contract with AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville.
Just for the record’s sake, I have nothing against Kalengo heading to Brazzaville in fact, he needs a professional deal more than anything else considering the age factor.
However, I have a feeling someone somewhere is not telling the truth about Kalengo’s move and what really transpired.
We are talking about a player who was not only instrumental in Zambia’s qualification to CHAN but the country’s current best player.
I understand the rants made by Lusekelo Kamwambi on behalf of the technical bench as they will have to do without Kalengo who over the past year has become a reliable player both at club and national team level.
As much as I understand that the AC Leopards deal is the most lucrative the player has stamped on so far, I think it was rushed.
Both the club and player should have waited until after the CHAN tournament.
Besides, he could have even landed himself a far much better deal after marketing himself in Rwanda.
I feel the club should not have waited until Kalengo’s contract reached its thinner end but would have opened talks before the expiry of his contract.
They should have found a way of keeping the player with attractive incentives before being challenged by a foreign club.
Even if they failed to match what AC Leopards offered, the deal would have been silently done considering the country’s assignment and more so that the Congolese league will only resume some time next month.
Zesco gave their reasons and said some top FAZ officials were aware about the deal but I believe this matter should have been handled more professional so that no one complains at the end.
I understand the predicament ‘Chicken’ George Lwandamina is in especially that he has to say something but might be misunderstood by his employer Zesco.
The coach seems to be tight-lipped although he is fully aware of what’s happening.
A lot was said in the media which I believe should not have been the case, the matter should have been handled administratively unlike resorting to personal attacks-which to me was unnecessary.
Hope the various parties including other clubs and administrators have learnt something from this fiasco and as sports administrator Ponga Liwewe said, clubs should do whatever it is to hold on to their prized players.
Ponga observed that Zambian players have been easy pickings for foreign clubs whose owners have deep pockets, irrespective of the quality of the leagues those clubs play in.
He said the antiquated remuneration structures in the Zambian Premier League leaves the door open for the snatching away of the best local talent.
“Most, if not all of the clubs in the domestic league structure their remuneration by grouping players into three distinct tiers, with the best and most experienced players at the top, the promising and upcoming or fading older players in the middle, and the youth in the third bracket.
I have always advocated for the phasing out of this method of salary scales and its replacement by individually negotiated contracts. A player should be paid what he is worth and if it means breaking the bank to get them on board then so be it.
I don’t see why a top player in Zambia should not earn more if he can justify his earnings by delivering on the field and leading his club to success, both domestically and in the African club competitions, which gives the club access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue and the potential to play in the lucrative World Cup of Clubs,” he said.
Ponga said the onus is on clubs to utilise the various revenue streams available to them and not just rely on the grant from their corporate owners or Government institutions to finance their operations.
“Once their financial base is more substantial, they can then untie their purse strings and hold on to their best talent for a longer period.
The current maximum wage structure will continue to keep Zambian clubs from succeeding in international competitions and further restrict player development by their absence from top flight African competitions,” he said.
Wishing you a wonderful sporting weekend and remember to interact with me on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and on twitter at eliaschipepo.