Legends

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar December 7, 2017 19:34

Legends

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (November 12th 2017)

The Next Legend

Fashion Sakala is the new ‘sure thing’ of Zambian football, and Patson Daka isn’t far behind, It remains to be seen if they will become stalwarts of the Chipolopolo – legends even – or burn out, lose form, or flatter to deceive like Emmanuel Mayuka, for example. There’s been several few cap wonders, but there are legends too, and since their prime and achievements many have faded into obscurity.

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Yesterday afternoon a Chipolopolo side, eager to continue the progress made since these sides met a year ago in Cameroun, drew 2-2 in Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium. Wedson Nyierenda’s new look side were unfortunate not to win – an injury time equaliser and the inspired performance of Cameroun’s goalkeeper, Fabrice Ondoa denied them the win their play deserved.

The potential is there as assistant coach, and one of Zambia’s great former players, Aggrey Chiyanga, made clear in his post-match press conference, but that is no guarantee of trophies, or becoming a legend.

Been There, Done That

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Zambian legends feel under-appreciated – neglected even. Some react with annoyance, especially if they feel a financial pinch as they have no means to support themselves. They had never been united as a group to attend a match as honoured guests. There’s a similar tale all over Africa, something Empower-Sport Ltd was determined to change.

Last March FAZ provided some tickets for them to matches at the Under-20 AFCON. THE WAFU Cup of Nations was more ambitious still. At short notice Barry Lambert, Senior Consultant of FOX Africa, arranged VIP tickets for former Black Stars, who lived in the region to attend the third/fourth place match and final. FOX provided transport too. Saturday’s was the most ambitious yet, courtesy of Empower-Sport.

It happened on Saturday for Kenneth Banda (one of the two oldest Zambian internationals alive), Emmy Musonda, Robin Kilambe, Kenneth Malitoli, Ackim Musenge, Fred Mwila, Patrick Phiri, Dickson Makwaza, Simon Kaushi, Stone Chibwe, Abraham Nkone, Kampela Katumba and Samuel Matete, among others.

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Incredibly, Zambia’s greatest ever athlete, Matete, had never been invited to attend a Chipolopolo match. The country’s only World Champion, was a true legend in every sense of the word, helping with transport from Kitwe, and ensuring that Makwaza was able to attend too. He asked for nothing in return. When I asked him a favour for another day to honour somebody else his response was typical of the legend. “I am humbled he said”.

Appreciated

The legends enjoyed the event, although there were teething problems. The 18 VIP and VVIP tickets were donated for them by FAZ (Football Association of Zambia). And there were others supplied as of right to Life Members – they have the right to tickets whenever they want. And after the match the Zanji Lodge hosted an event for them An Audience with Zambia’s Legends, including a braii (a barbecue that is an event).

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An even more ambitious programme is planned soon to honour the contribution of Zambia’s sporting legends. The Football and Allied Workers Union of Zambia will be at the forefront of planning and delivering that. A Committee was established to ensure the smooth delivery of the next event for Zambian legends – an even more ambitious one at the COSAFA Under-20 tournament in December.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar December 7, 2017 19:34

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