Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) President Kalusha Bwalya
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) President Kalusha Bwalya

By Laura Miti

I think of Kalusha Bwalya has one of Zambia’s greatest heroes and hero is not a word you will hear out of my mouth about an individual too often.

I just find I hold an undiminishing debt of gratitude to him for being there for Zambia and leading from the front at this nation’s darkest, most painful moment. I will never forget that TV news clip when Charles Musonda said to a journalist it was over for Zambian soccer. Kalusha broke in and indignantly said something to the effect of “No way, it is not over. We will rise from this.” In the days and months after we buried our team, Kalusha became for me the one light in a dark confusing place. I have no idea how he did not collapse under the weight of all our hopes. He not only did not falter, he delivered on the promise made in that TV clip.

So yes, I would name a stadium after Kalusha and I hope one day we do. And no I am not blind to his failings.

The reason I write this though is not to mourn Kalusha’s FAZ presidency loss to Andrew Kamanga in the small hours of Sunday. It is rather to say in the loss of someone in whose corner I generally am, I find myself celebrating one of the strengths of this nation – the extent to which we have embraced and taken as ours the power of the vote.

Andrew has fought long and hard to dethrone Kalu. Sometimes the playing field was not at all level with Kalusha having the support of CAF and FIFA royalty. In the end, the tide turned as it always does and Andrew campaigned hard enough to convince delegates that he would be better for Zambian soccer than a national legend.

That we can replace leaders from sport to politics, defeating the inordinate advantage of incumbency is something I am proud of and it is that which makes what happened at Moba significant in the larger picture of national life. Nobody gets to enter or stay in office unless the electorate concerned with that office say so. So we see the end of an era in our soccer maybe. But heck, Kalusha is carved into our history, and into many hearts in gold (copper?) All the best Andrew. Like our politics, our soccer is a crazy place. We can only hope this long, long fight to get the FAZ presidency translates into better times for the fan.

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29 COMMENTS

    • Why not proof read your article Laura before rushing to the media and publishing it

      I don’t know where to start but this is a terribly written piece with momentous grammatical errors, if anything it shows you either are disconnected with life or probably a wee bit dull as we say in Glasgow.

      House keeping First!

      Remember that!

      Absolutely terrible

      Thanks

      Bb2014

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    • Zambians you have voted out kalusha a free kick hero,,, the man who put Zambian football on the world map;;; chanibaba!!! I dare you! yes all you Zambians,,, to vote out Lungu who is not hero of anything,( you ´cant vote out a hero and keep lungu a non-hero) otherwise am giving back the Zambian passport … kaleza!, akalumba! don’t `hold` I will boycott/mancott Zambia….

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    • Jealousy fake Mushota.

      You can’t write or articulate as well as you claim your qualifications.

      The only vocabulary you have is “Thank you”.

      Laura has said everything that needs to be said about FAZ.
      This is much appreciated.

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    • Yeah, Kalusha did what he could. Time to move on. Good luck to Kamanga team.

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    • Personally, I feel Kalusha’s contribution to Zambian Soccer has been somehow exaggerated and blown beyond his actual achievements. As a player, Kalusha never won any trophy with the national team. The only major achievement was to score a few goals at the Olympic games 1988. At those same games, Zambia was crashed 4 – 0 by Germany with Kalusha playing the full ninety minutes. When the team won, it is Kalusha, but when we lost it was the team, NO. Yes, he was African footballer of the year in 1988 but that was all because he played in Europe and for the influential PSV club. Zambia went on to lose by big margins in the Africa Cup of Nations, notably 4 -2 to Tunisia in 1996. Kalusha was a political stooge of subsequent governments but NO Footbal administrator at ALL.

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    • MUSHOTA you’re so right. It just shows how terrible the quality of our education has become. Is English summary still taught in our schools? And how can HAS and AS mean the same thing?

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  1. Very well articulated Laura! Democracy has indeed prevailed. Kalu is the best soccer personality in the history of Zambia and no one can take that away from him, like him or hate him- history cannot be changed. We can only wish Kamanga the best; all we are interested in is development of soccer to new heights

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    • That’s what happens when one overates himself.Kalu underated Kamanga just like PF underrates HH.Lungu will be the next casualty.HH will surely win this time.

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  2. Wonderful article by Laura.
    Yes, Kalu did a brilliant job as a player, he scored some successes as FAZ Boss; e.g Afcon 2012 and some high profile friendlies; these we can’t be taken away from him. BUT, he also had many shortcomings, which he must have attended to. I still feel he should have read the mood and stepped aside much earlier.

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  3. Laura always a spoilt brat to spoil the party! @mushota growup for God’s sake! Brilliant piece. On a score of 1-10, I pit it at 11!

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  4. ‘I find myself celebrating one of the strengths of this nation – the extent to which we have embraced and taken as ours the power of the vote.’ – so true Laura. I love this about my country as well.

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  5. Yeah, Kalusha did what he could. Time to move on. Good luck to Kamanga team

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  6. This is year of change.giants will fall make my words.Pf will follow suit .HH will have the last laugh.

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  7. Thumbs up to Great Kalu. You deserve a standing ovation! You did your very best but as they say,what goes up must come down. Congrates Kamanga and hope your plans for Zambian football comes to fruition!!!

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  8. AK47 invite stone nyerenda , luck msiska , Charles musonda and many more legends to help u run football in Zambia and let them bring their children to play for Zambia.bring all best players who are in diaspora to play for their country its now dual citizenship.

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  9. Its this selfsame hero worshiping that encouraged corruption under the Galu regime..red card for Laura !!

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    • @ Mr Selfsame, are you questioning the word selfsame or its frequent use by Jay Jay? For those who don’t know, the word selfsame is used for emphasis to show that two things are the same.

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    • I’m sure Mr Selfsame knows what it means but like me Mr Jay Jay’s use of it is so ad nauseam. its like those guys who punctuate every sentence with “in actual fact”

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    • I’m sure Mr Selfsame knows what it means but like me im dure he finds Mr Jay Jay’s use of it ad nauseam. Its like those guys who punctuate every sentence with “in actual fact”

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  10. Great article…Kalusha acted maturely by allowing people to registered and to stand against him
    This is what democracy is all about.Now its time for ZAA to follow suit by allowing Matete to stand against Mponda…

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  11. Mushota that is a most unfortunate personal comment on a well written article that has a couple of typos that in all truth should have been picked up by the editor. We have very few people of the calibre of Laura writing these days. I think it is because of people like you who want to tumble in the mud with them.

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  12. I saw this on laura’s fb page before seeing it here and it had no errors. so mushota relax. you are lecturing one of the most respected commentators zambia has produced as if she killed someone.

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