Zesco United coach George Lwandamina says he is not a tribalist and people should not hijack or politicise football banter.
Lwandamina on June 29 said in a post-match interview at Woodlands Stadium in Lusaka after beating Southern Province -based side Green Eagles that the FAZ Super Division title belonged to the Copperbelt.
Zesco beat Eagles 3-1 on post-match penalties following a 0-0 fulltime draw to win their eighth FAZ Super Division title and retain it for a third successive season.
Had Eagles beaten Zesco last Saturday, they would have made history as the first side from outside Zambia’s football hotbed of the Copperbelt and Midlands to lift the FAZ Super Division crown.
Lwandamina told LT Sports on Wednesday that his statement, that has caused an uproar, that the league title belong on the Copperbelt, was digested out of the context, and was merely a football culture wisecrack.
“I just want to clear the air about what is going on, what is happening, and the outcries from Southern Province. I thought this was football, and I am sure Choma Eagles are based in Choma, which is in Southern Province,” Lwandamina said.
Lwandamina said Eagles is a Zambian club and no one should labelled it with any tribal inclinations.
“But if you look at the (Green Eagles) team composition, they are not all Tonga’s, they maybe a few Tonga but the rest are from other Provinces,” Lwandamina said.
“For me to have said that we didn’t want the Cup to go to Southern Province and that the Cup should remain along the Line of Rail, don’t forget that Choma is also along the Line of Rail, we just wanted to protect the integrity of the Copperbelt.
“You just can’t relinquish or give up the fight for the title for the sake of, “playing the Tonga’s”, like they are saying.
“For me, I am not into politics where I have to start mentioning tribes.
“I have been in football long and I have worked with a lot of Tonga’s compared to even my own tribes mates the Kaonde’s.
“So today, I have become tribalistic, that is unheard of.
“The list is long if I start giving you the list of Tonga players who have worked under me; starting from Kennedy Mweene, Clive Hachilensa, Laughter Chilembi, Hichani Himonde, Lewis Macha and even (Spencer) Sautu who is even with Green Eagles.
“I am sure they are there to give testimony if at any point they heard me talk about tribes.
“I don’t talk about tribes, no. I impress the Zambian people; I work with all Zambian people.
“The most unfortunate part is the competition was between Southern Province and Copperbelt Province.
“And if they had won, they were going to say we have actually made history, we are the first team to have taken the Cup to Southern Province.
“So was that going to be an issue? That’s the question, and the answer is no.
“So let’s not trivialize this football. Football should remain football and independent of politics.”