Katongo fumbled
Published On March 8, 2014 » 3260 Views» By Moses Kabaila Jr: Online Editor » Columns, Sports
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Scorecard - MalungaTHE sentiments attributed to Chipolopolo skipper, Christopher Katongo over the contributions made by youngsters in the national team are most unfortunate to say the least.
During a post-match interview at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola in midweek after Zambia beat Uganda 2-1, Katongo said: “We won’t take out the experienced players just because you play two, three games at Nkana or whatever for one week or six months then he comes and plays Africa Cup of Nations. We are not going to take that. We want a player who is going to be consistent for the club to come in and he can challenge us, no problem. He is going to find us and challenge us.”
These comments ruffled feathers of many football lovers especially the reference of Nkana where Zambia’s two-goal hero in that friendly against Uganda, Evans Kangwa comes from.
According to my understanding, Katongo thinks a player who is not consistent at club level can not make it into the Chipolopolo fold.
Most of us by now know that Kangwa has not consistently played club football for some time because he has been globe-trotting in search of the elusive greener pasture.
Therefore, I don’t think the Zambian media quoted Katongo out of context or interpreted his comments wrongly.
In this particular scenario, it is wrong to condemn the media for reporting what the Chipolopolo captain said after the match.
I do appreciate the efforts by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to defend Katongo over the matter.
FAZ claim that at no time did Katongo try to demean or belittle the performance of Kangwa or any other player during the briefing.
The association said Chris enjoys warm relations with his team mates and everybody else associated with the Chipolopolo.
FAZ further stated that Chipolopolo coach, Patrice Beaumelle had earlier warned against introducing an all new Chipolopolo squad without fusing in of older and experienced players.
However, no amount of sugar coating can take away what Katongo stated on that day.
If at all Katongo was misunderstood by the media, then probably the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations winning skipper’s words which came out where not what he had intended to say.
This brings me to the issue of allowing our players to express themselves in a language they were comfortable with.
FAZ should take this language matter seriously and ensure the players were given an opportunity to express themselves freely in their mother tongue and then an interpreter should be on hand to translate into English.
We have seen this happening in many countries even in neighbouring South Africa.
Let this be a learning experience for all of us and avoid an unnecessary finger-pointing. E-mail:malungaf@gmail.com

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