IT is very regrettable that a talented star like Evarine Katongo can be inactive for over six months due to controversy between the player and her club, and somewhat, to some extent, her handlers.
It is very sad that a player can stay inactive from her club since July when she helped Zambia win bronze at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.
How can Katongo just be training with different clubs until now and expect to be fit for national team duties?
This is one issue that has unnecessarily dragged on for far too long and a solution needs to be found quickly.
Regrettably, this is not a new story.
There have been many opportunists with similar outcomes that have often ruined the careers of players and coaches with their self-serving approach.
There is a need to promote a culture of professional, reliable and decent agents that will open doors for many of our promising players.
And this case is no different for Evarine because it is obvious there has been a battle between her agents and the club, the Zambia Institute for Sustainable Development (ZISD).
But this standoff has left Evarine in a disadvantaged position-career wise.
Look at the many opportunities that have eluded the player-with the latest having been attending trials at South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns despite the debate that arose as to whether a player of her calibre needed to attend trials.
But Sundowns may have been a little sceptical because of her inactivity which should be seriously looked into.
With the Copper Queens preparing for the FIFA World Cup, Evarine’s issue must be dealt with the urgency it deserves or risks her not making it to the final squad.
A player of such a calibre must not be undergoing such unnecessary disturbances all because of some people’s selfish motives.
This actually reminds me of the workshop the FAZ held just last week with prospective player agents where they were warned to look at the interest of players first.
In as much as we know that football is big business, the business part of it should not be conducted to the detriment of the player.
Gone are the days when women’s football was regarded as just a social engagement because it has become professional as evidenced by the many Zambian players trekking to different parts of the World seeking to play at the highest level of female soccer.
Zambia has many female players playing professional football in competitive leagues in Spain, China and Kazakhstan among others, and Evarine’s calibre is one that also deserves to prosper in the big leagues.
With the Sundowns’ opportunity going down the drain, her handlers or everyone involved in her current situation must make introspection.
They must urgently think of ways to help Evarine focus on playing and not boardroom politics, especially after her admission that the whole ordeal has affected her.
Evarine must be in her right frame and not distracted by the uncertainty surrounding her club duties, particularly now that she is part of the 33 players Copper Queens coach Bruce Mwape called for the local camp as the team prepares for the World Cup.
For now, we can only hope that the issue is handled urgently and effectively to allow the player to blossom and help the national team at the World Cup.
The interest of the player should come first before these clubs and handlers look at ways of fattening their pockets.
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