THE Zambian football administration has once again erupted with rage and justifications following Zambian soccer icon Kalusha Bwalya’s decision to put Chipolopolo skipper Rainford Kalaba third in his ranking of the best players in 2016.
Kalusha, who qualified to vote by virtue of being on the CAF technical and Development committee believed that Zimbabwean Karma Billiat and Ugandan Dennis Onyango were better performers than Kalaba in the year.
Ultimately, Onyango was voted best player on the continent with Billiat coming second and Kalaba third.
Onyango and Billiat won the CAF Clubs Champions league with Memolodi Sundowns while Kalaba won the Confederations Cup with TP Mazembe and was also the top scorer in that competition.
This Kalusha decision not to put his fellow Zambian, a person he coached at the national team and also led as FAZ president a few months ago, first has enraged many fans questioning Kalusha’s patriotism.
Those in Kalusha’s favour have argued that voting for such an important award should not be based on patriotism but a look at the quality with Kalusha replying to a tweet that a comparison with how others voted and whom they felt was the best.
We also saw Kalaba react angrily saying he feels betrayed by a fellow Zambian whom he has always looked up to for inspiration.
One matter that has been high on the minds of many was how FAZ was supposed to write a letter recommending Kalusha to contest a CAF position and how when information leaked that FAZ was going with a COSAFA stance, FAZ president Andrew Kamanga was called unpatriotic for choosing someone else ahead of a fellow Zambian.
We saw the minister issue a statement that Kalusha would be recommended and indeed the ‘patriotism letter’ came.
This also reminds me when Kalusha was contesting the COSAFA regional presidency when he was vice-president and cried that then president Teddy Mulonga would not vote for him and demanded that he casts the vote himself. Kalusha did cast that FAZ vote.
While I agree that Kalusha has a right to vote for who he wants, just as any Zambian is free to vote for any political party of his choice, I can see that the 1988 African Footballer of the Year enjoys such controversies.
Having seen him fight even bigger battles, I am sure ‘worrying’ about this is the last thing on his mind but I also feel for Kalaba, who has been so close to Kalusha for about 15 years, starting from the time at Afrisports.
This is one unfortunate chapter in Zambian football history especially in the post Kalusha Bwalya era as FAZ President.
I am also tempted to comment on Real Nakonde’s preparations for the 2017 – their maiden year in the top flight league – and I see they have settled for Matthews Njobvu as the coach to guide the ship.
That appointment speaks volumes about their ambitions and if I can remember well, Njobvu just left Mufulira Blackpool, a side that ended their premier status without a win in 34 matches.
We all know that Njobvu was not in charge of all 34 matches but during his time, nothing changed about this poor Mufulira side and I hope my fears for Real Nakonde do not come true.
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