Ugandans celebrate Kalaba’s injury: ‘Jubilee gift mother nature has offered’

By Fred Kaweesi

What a Jubilee gift!

Details of the article here

Africa champions Zambia are in dire straits following the withdrawal of their playmaker Rainford Kalaba from Saturday’s decisive Nations Cup qualifier against Uganda.

But Ugandans will celebrate this development as the best possible Jubilee gift that ‘Mother Nature’ could have offered ahead of a vital fixture Cranes need to win by a 2-0 result to qualify for the finals next year.

Kalaba sustained a groin injury during TP Mazembe’s goalless draw against Tunisian side Esperance in the first leg of their African Champions League semi-final on Sunday.

And according to the Congolese club’s doctor Taha Messaoud, the mercurial midfielder (below) will only be able to return to competitive football after a minimum of seven days.

“The injury is not too bad but he needs a lot of care. It will be very difficult for him to play this weekend,” Messaoud told BBC Sport on Monday.

Kalaba’s withdrawal from the Zambian team is as massive a blow as it comes.

The 26-year-old is the heart and soul of this Zambian team. He is the commander and match maker.

Without him, the Zambians are virtually lifeless.

Kalaba, whose performances for club and country have earned him a place among the nominees for the African Player of the Year award, admitted he was disappointed to miss the decisive qualifier.

“I am very disappointed because it’s a crucial game for us. If we don’t qualify, people back home will not understand,” he said.

“I just pray that the guys get a positive result in Uganda.

I believe in them and I know they will do wonders when they go there,” Kalaba hinted.

Throughout the 2012 Nations Cup tournament, Kalaba was the little engine that drove Zambia forward.

As far as the entire tournament was concerned, no player was as central or pivotal to a team’s success as Kalaba was for Zambia.

Fast and deceptive, Kalaba is an instinctive goal-poacher who can also run the channels or shoot from outside the box. His teammates call him ‘The Master’.

Kalaba featured in all six of Zambia’s starting elevens in the 2012 tournament, playing a huge piece in the team’s success.

What Kalaba’s absence means for Cranes

In Ndola, Kalaba performed in bits, largely because of Godfrey Walusimbi’s intelligent play at left-back.

Although he shifted into a more central role and troubled Cranes midfielders Mike Sserumagga, Godfrey Kizito and Hassan Wasswa with his intelligent movement and passing within tight areas, his preferred areas of operation are down the right side of midfield.

It explains why Zambia striker Jacob Mulenga labelled Cranes left-back Walusimbi ‘world class’ after watching him frustrate Kalaba in the first leg before pointing that Zambia’s success on Saturday would depend on whether Kalaba will find a way past Walusimbi.

“He (Walusimbi) is fantastic. He is world class.

He should be playing in Europe. I like the way he plays,” Mulenga told New Vision in Nairobi before adding: “He looks intelligent and makes the right decisions.”

On Monday though, Zambian coach Herve Renard sounded pleased with the form of a majority of his first team players and particularly striker James Chamanga, who struck twice as his side Dalian Shide lost 3-2 to Liaoning Whowin in the Chinese league on Saturday.

Renard was so critical of the veteran striker after he missed two glaring opportunities during Zambia’s 1-0 first leg win over Uganda.

But the hype around Chamanga’s form and fitness of Jacob Mulenga has now superseded the presence of all the other star attractions in the team’s camp, including Southampton forward Emmanuel Mayuka.

This means Cranes’ prospects on Saturday will largely be decided by how well the team’s back-four perform on the day against Zambia’s five established strikers Chamanga, Mulenga, Mayuka, Christopher Katongo and Jonas Sakuwaha.

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40 Responses to "Ugandans celebrate Kalaba’s injury: ‘Jubilee gift mother nature has offered’"

  1. kamps   October 12, 2012 at 14:26

    Is the Zambia national team all about Kalaba? Even when kalu stoped playing many thought Zambia would struggle,and why do you chaps speak highly of Uganda? Zambia is a very good team and will put up a very good game tomorrow i just do not see Zambia losing Uganda was lucky in Ndola but they will not be lucky in kampala, records are always broken. Even Zambia used to be un beaten at independency staduim

  2. mujombo   October 12, 2012 at 14:26

    With or without Kalaba Zambia will show the Ugandans it depth on 13th october 2012.And you doubting Thomases will then believe.Watch this space out.

  3. faramborator   October 12, 2012 at 10:54


  4. Kenneth   October 11, 2012 at 18:17

    Sad for Kalaba the Sprinter, Team work will do!!!!!!

  5. Kenneth   October 11, 2012 at 18:16

    The cranes are determined. Zambia should use their Afcon champinionship mask to threaten the cranes with an early goal!!!!!

  6. tm   October 11, 2012 at 16:37

    i pray we win this one i am nervous on this one i dont know why….

  7. Chris   October 10, 2012 at 17:52

    We are winning zambia is a big team come saturday .

  8. Person   October 10, 2012 at 14:49

    Zambia is going to win no matter what.

  9. BALUNGI   October 10, 2012 at 13:17

    To qualify for the draw against Zambia, the Cranes lost the first leg in Brazaville by 3 goals to 1. What happened in kampala, Congo was whipped 4-0 for the Cranes to qualify.

  10. BALUNGI   October 10, 2012 at 13:04

    Believe it or not without Kalaba, Zambia is lifeless. The Chipolopolo games are midfield centred with Kalaba as the engine therefore his replacement can’t be as good. Secondly, no African giant has ever prevailed in Namboole despite the cranes’ “inexperience”. Nigeria, Ghana, even the mighty Angola then under HR was demolished 3-0. So Namboole is not HR’s good hunting ground. Thirdly, Zambia survived in Ndola b’se the cranes used only one junior striker OKWI due to injuries of the now fit Massa & Omony.

  11. chanda.H   October 10, 2012 at 09:04

    More importantly,lets make a calloout for clifford mulenga.we must learn to bury the paste mistakes,Zambia is a christian nation and forgiveness is paramount.quiet okey the boy has been disciplined,but let it not be perpetual,atlast it will be the entire nation to suffer a set back.take an example of senegalese El hadji Diouf.His country used to have him on the starting eleven despite being was just his stage in his growth sure he is a changed coach sir,for the sake of returning the title consider the young clifford.he has similar attacking principles as kalaba.The government please move in also in this matter,we cannot afford to lose to the cranes and remain embarraced for failing to qualify even when we have some guys to perform at their highiest level best.

  12. African Champion   October 10, 2012 at 08:27

    Fellow, Zambians, watch the game in Ndola against the Cranes again. I know many people just wanted us to win by many goals. It did not happpen and may be that influenced our thinking. Our local public media did not help matters. It has always been like that, anyway.

    Uganda only played the first 10-15 minutes, after that they where just surviving – they could have lost that game by about 5-6 golas save for lady luck. That is, as they say from a football sense of things. I would be more worried with Ghana than Uganda in the same situation. Ghana from their play at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium where very mature, composed and looked very dangerous in all areas.

    Uganda only managed one or two counter attacks in the second half that really looked dangerous. The rest of their game was average.

    By the way, the Ugandans DEDICATED THEIR NATION to the Lord Jesus (similar to our Christian Nation Declaration) on Sunday 7th October at this same Stadium. They are our brothers in the Lord. Congratulations and welcome to the family! We love you. This is just football…

    • THE REPORTER   October 12, 2012 at 12:55

      its true,uganda would ve gone home by 6 goals

  13. Waitaya   October 10, 2012 at 07:47

    Football is won or lost in 90 minutes plus added on the pitch. The rest is what may be witchcraft or simply day dreaming.

    Uganda just woke up one day and discovered that CAF handed them a draw against the African Champions. For now they will do their best to start discovering what makes us tick. Ghana and Ivory Coast ignored us. Equatorial Guinea coach never minced his words about how he felt he could not lose to Zambia because he had studied all our friendlies and games before as far as 2010 (That is a good Brazillian coach who had very good players I must admit). They fell, at home, before their fans.

    Morden Soccer uses statistics. Zambia has one crucial stat agaist the cranes. We beat them in Ndola. Their coach Bobby Williamson has already conceded to one amazing statistic. NOT SO MANY TEAMS score more than one goal against Zambia in recent years. That is one aspect in all their discussions (I have been following their media) they still have figured out why.

    Whenever it comes to that, they have not had answers. They analysed our midfield play and attack. When it comes to defence, all they have done is tell their strikers to shoot on site. And I laughed at this bit.

    I put my money on Chipolopolo; withor without Kalaba or Jacob. I wish the two could have played anyway.

  14. Malekani from Mapatizya   October 10, 2012 at 07:32


  15. The ugly truth   October 10, 2012 at 07:26

    Well has been a big influence on our game and there seems to be no one who fill his shoes when he is not would be nice if they can give chance to clifford.but this throws the game wide open with Uganda with a big chance.its too close to call.

  16. Zambian Human Being   October 9, 2012 at 22:09

    Ba Manyando, if u re a ng’anga, we don’t care but would only advise to stick to civility. Do u see any word in the article that suggest witchcraft? We wish Kalaba a quick recovery for his career progression. CHIPOLOPOLO will be pa South

  17. mike   October 9, 2012 at 21:47

    open game,we need to score as many goals as uganda wil allow.

  18. manyando   October 9, 2012 at 21:25

    Ba zambia muli bachabe,too much juju football,God should punish u this time around by Uganda.

  19. The Eyes of an Eagle.   October 9, 2012 at 20:58

    Iwe papaya ; you are wicked and evil.How could you suggest that Kalaba smokes and that is why his eyes looks suspicous.You are even asking DEC to carry out investigations into the matter.I have red eyes myself, but I don’t smoke or quaff beer.Most black Africans have brownish/red eyes by nature.I rest my case.

  20. Da Genius   October 9, 2012 at 20:57

    Kalaba should have been examined by our own team of medical doctors to acertain if he was truly injured or not coz i smell the hand of the unscrupulous katumbi in this issue

  21. The Eyes of an Eagle.   October 9, 2012 at 20:39

    Iwe chi papaya ;How could you suggest that kalaba smokes the hard stuff known as the WEED by rastas.I must say iwe Chi pawpaw you are wicked and evil to suggest that Kalaba’s eyes shine due to abuse of a kacamba.Jelous will not take you anywhere at all.

  22. The Eyes of an Eagle.   October 9, 2012 at 20:11

    You only cross the bridge upon reaching the river.Let us wait and see what happens on Saturday.The results will be decided after ninety minutes .Therefore the idea of crying for spilt milk will not assist in any matters at all.This gives us anadvantage over Uganda.The ugandan chaps may even relax in their approach to the game;especially after knowing that the Midfield Predator (kalaba) is not around.They may also not know that the likes of Njobvu,chisamba and sinkala can cause more harm in the midfield.Guys we are winning this march.I rest my case.

  23. papaya   October 9, 2012 at 19:59

    DEC should investigate this wounded rabit test him for drug abuse, check his eyes. No wonder he is finished now, only talking about the past.

    • THE REPORTER   October 9, 2012 at 20:35

      iwe papaya its u who is on drugs alah.kalaba is the best footballer.i love him.his the man of the match

  24. THE REPORTER   October 9, 2012 at 19:32

    can someone give me the webside for the ugandans?

  25. PF Bootylicker   October 9, 2012 at 19:06

    We should play 4-5-1 with sunzu moving in midfield and kampamba chintu to partner hichani himonde in the heart of defence then let mayuka as a lone striker with chansa, katongo,sinkala and chisamba packing the midfield with mbola and nkausu as full backs.what do you think soccer analysts?

    • blago   October 10, 2012 at 00:50

      Sounds good to me

    • mk   October 10, 2012 at 05:32

      Good suggestion. I hope HR, is thinking likewise.

    • chanda.H   October 10, 2012 at 08:51

      U are the Man.i think ur line up can help us since mbola and sunzu at time they turn to overlapp,helping either chamanga or mayuka upfront.

  26. Uncle Junior   October 9, 2012 at 18:44

    This is when you see what strength and depths Zambia is made off; HR has been taking team B for international friendlies use them…you chaps can not depend on one single player.

  27. Spyglass   October 9, 2012 at 18:42

    Cruel eh? Anyway, it tells us that they fear us and wish us bad luck But what they dont know is that even our reserve team can whoop them!!! Watch.

  28. Waligo Ronnie   October 9, 2012 at 18:25

    Why the chest thumping? The african champions should not make history by failing to qualify at the hands of an inexperienced side though. Go and test the fury of Namboole stadium.

  29. don pa hotel   October 9, 2012 at 18:25

    We still have chisamba and sakuwaha (tho he’s a striker) but we can rely on others too we are still winning

  30. The Fixer   October 9, 2012 at 17:51

    One of the pitfalls of football is overconfidence. The absence of Kalaba is deceptively advantageous to the Cranes, but we have a lot of surprises for the novices. This is grand inexperience on their part, no wonder they have been missing out from the AFCON action for decades. You dont win a game until the last whistle, simple. Ask Ghana, Sudan, Libya and Ivory coast.

  31. real analyst   October 9, 2012 at 17:48

    With all due regards, Renard should not waste his time on Chamanga…The man will do the runnings without a goal…Plz we don’t need him…this is a decisive game

  32. Amuna Onzuna   October 9, 2012 at 17:46

    Its true, i went on their website and they are very happy that he is not playing. To them, Zambia is Kalaba and without him victory is theirs.Im sure Renard will deploy a defensive formation with two defensive midfielders in Sinkala and Kasonde while allowing Chansa or Willam Njobvu to do the distribution upfront to a lone striker

  33. Chimogo Charles   October 9, 2012 at 17:45

    Guys, we have to be serious on this. Ugandans are very tough nowadays. They may thrust us 5goals to may be to 1 just like they have done to other Giants.

    Watch-out for their talented youths that missed the 1st leg. They are very brilliant and have eye for goal.

    Remember; There’s this very energetic man Godfrey Massa. He IS back for training.

  34. Shi Bwalya   October 9, 2012 at 17:27

    the eye of an egle.

  35. My Opinion   October 9, 2012 at 17:22

    Uganda, you will even be more disappointed. We will win without him. Zambia has won many games withoout Kalaba. So, please just relax and see yourselves going down.