Football Association of Zambia Kalusha Bwalya, seemingly getting too comfortable under the wash of the blue colour spray of The Post Newspapers, let his mind running away a little when he made quite scathing comments on the leagues where Zambian players ply their trade.
It could have earned him full marks by his hosts but in truth the comments had far reaching football and relationship consequences. For those that may have missed; here below is the bit of what the FAZ man said;
“Our league is going to suffer if we continue being feeders of South Africa, TP Mazembe and Angola for instance. Surely they are much better off going to Europe.
“There is no patience in the Zambian players. If we have to play at the World Cup, then we should look and envy players playing in Europe. Because when you go there, you will find players that play in teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Manchester. Those are the teams these guys should aim at. Unfortunately, our boys are easily misled. My worry has been; who is talking to the players? They are becoming breadwinners at an early age,” said Kalusha
Very noble sentiments on the face of it and definitely ones to make the back page of any publication coming from a man who himself made time in Europe. But not if you draw yourself to two lines- “…OUR BOYS ARE BEING MISLED.” By who Mr President?
You Mr President has had a hand in several transfer deals that have been steeped in corruption and have almost brought Zambian football to near paupers. Emmanuel Mbola has never played decent football since 2010 when his Africa Cup exploits won him many scouting eyes and even attracted the attention of Serie A giants Juventus until Mr President you smelt the money and in a well documented confession by Mbola’s former manager Elijah Chileshe, a big fish is involved in the Mbola deal.
Chileshe or Shenko revealed how on a visit to TP Mazembe all the dreams that the player had of going to Europe melted in that lush office which only you and Shenko know the full story but the tragic end was that Mbola stayed put in Lubumbashi where he was made to entangle in a transfer dispute that took over a year for FIFA to resolve.
Mbola’s free-fall has continued as he has now lowered his bar to playing for local guns Nkana as his big move. In any case, TP Mazembe and some South African clubs deserve Zambia’s respect for helping keeping our boys in shape going on to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. Five of Zambia’s Africa Cup winning team were TP Mazembe products that first won the Africa Club Championship and went on to play at the FIFA Club World Cup.
While Kalusha’s target with these clubs starts and ends on “how much the transfer fee” is, TP Mazembe and those teams in South Africa generally contribute to the general well-being of our players. TP Mazembe and teams like Sundowns just don’t end at “how much is my CUT” business like the case is with Kalusha. You wonder whether he made those comments in sleep mode.
Another note Mr President, “My worry has been; who is talking to the players at home.” Again Mr President who are you deceiving? Many bogus agents have surfaced with hardly no one in the players’ home set up ever aware of any connection with agents until THE well engineered hotel visit for a ‘meeting’ with so and so from wherever just to have a chat. None of the player’s family is ever that connected!
How many agents has Sunzu met? And at whose behest? Quite a stampede around the young man to ensure any orderly club to do business. This could be another tragic story given Sunzu though young will need to hit his prime and with Zambia not so very high on the global ranks performance wise or otherwise it could be difficult to get a look in. Is it not a shame that for all the noise made about winning the Africa Cup all that we can show for in Europe is Mayuka’s not so high flying trek to Southampton.
You further say, “they are becoming breadwinners at an early age.” Need we go back to the Emmanuel Mayuka chapter, the teenager whose right to sign a contract to the point of forgery you pushed with all that evidence in public domain. Was that not forcing Mayuka into a breadwinner clearly against the rules and conscious?
You make a strong case against the TP Mazembe and South Africa leagues. Mr President, where you not the first official to do business with Mazembe in the Mbola case? Has not TP Mazembe picked players that none of the clubs anywhere in the world could look at for their dismal form. Some of them have been roped in on charitable grounds, no need to mention names.
But some waning careers have seen a bit of light courtesy of the mercies of Moise Katumbi. Was not the bulk of the Africa Cup winning team not from TP Mazembe and South Africa? If they did not go to Europe is that entirely a Mazembe problem? None of these clubs cajole Zambian players into signing for them?
None of the Zambian players that go to South Africa has ever been held against their will. It is a free market. How many Zambian players has the SA league given a livelihood? Without South Africa could the former golden boy of Zambian football Collins Mbesuma ever got a resurgence?
So Mr President have some respect for the local leagues that have built your players sometimes at the expense of their own nationals. Well, you can fool those who conveniently wish to be fooled when it comes to player transfers, agents and other things, but not everyone. Its best Mr President you keep your player skeletons to yourself before people resurrect what your hand has seen from the days of Maybin Mugaiwa, Harry Milanzi, Dudley Fichite and the late Chaswe Nsofwa to mention but a few.