PF lessons from AFCON soccer failure

By Austin Mbozi

1. Do not claim undue credit.

Since shallow-minded PF had claimed credit for Zambia’s 2012 Africa Cup soccer victory, should we, following their logic, attribute this loss to them? Chishimba Kabwili, that sports minister who works hard but without much thinking, claimed that if MMD had continued ruling, Zambia would not have won the cup. Given Lubinda, that foreign minister who does not deserve our sympathy when the snakes he was charming are biting him, claimed that Boxer Easter Phiri beat Zimbabwe’s Monalisa Sibanda because ‘Zambia has been winning since September (when PF won elections)’! Yet, Easter had won all her bigger titles under MMD, after with President Levy Mwanawasa gave her the PHI house!

Even that opportunist from UPND to MMD, then back to UPND and recently playing parliamentary soccer on the side of PF MPs, , Jonas Shakafufwa, went as far as saying Sata’s victory inspired our national soccer teams victory (The Post 11th February 2012)! Liar! The players themselves defied him. They said they were inspired by the 1993 Gabon fallen heroes; not by Sata. Can he now, following his logic, come and tell us that Sata’s failure to deliver inspired the team’s failure now?  And should Mr Fred Mmembe, a now useless man who admits to be involved in borrowing our tax payers’ money and then openly refuses to pay, publish such a story since he had published the one attributing AFCON win to Sata? (We know Mmembe sues will indirectly find something in future to pin down those that say the truth about his bad conduct. Let him sue me so that I show the court his own editorials that admit that he participated in borrowing billions of state funds which he is now refusing to pay and his letters to Sata’s  Sebastian Zulu to intervene to help them against the court ruling that they pay.  Since he has money, media power and has powerful friends within the legal fraternity, he can easily ‘defeat’ my body. But not my soul. My soul is ready going to Chimbwakaila prison because of telling this truth.  It is better for me to die or live among caged crooks in prison because they won’t harm me, than to live among un-caged deceptive people around me).

After Zambia won, Sata even claimed that he gave the plot where fallen heroes are buried! (The Post 14th Feb).  Mmembe used to say the nation did not belong to Mwanawasa’s mother or father. So did that plot belong to Sata’s father or mother? Then the Post headline (15th Feb) read ‘Sata Counsels ‘His’ Champions!’ Are the footballers Sata’s children?  Then The Post editorial (13theFebruary) attempted to praise Sata for ‘being in charge of the burial arrangements’ during the Gabon disaster but ended up saying Sata kept cracking jokes? So he was just joking when we were all mourning our national team! It is the then President Chiluba who organized that funeral.  Nothing special about Sata here!

You see, deception has short legs. UPND President Hakainde Hichilema warned PF against attributing soccer victory to themselves.  Even during last Sunday’s Kabwata rally he repeated this warning. (I went to the UPND rally in the same way Chinua Achebe’s Okonkwo went to the meeting of Christians when Mr. Brown, the white missionary visited Umuofia. He went with a goatskin bag in one hand and a matchet –sword in the other, in readiness for war with the man’s religion. I went there in case it came to wiping out PF’s violent ‘religion’).  But as usual PF wanted credit where they did not sow.  Now they are caught pants down. The fact is that last victory had nothing to do with the PF.  The Zambia soccer foundation and spiritedness was built up during Kaunda’s copper mines, then by individual efforts by soccer academies, one of them being Chiparamba  one owned by former  FAZ President and Republican President Rupiah Banda and his sons. Rupiah Banda’s Chaparamba produced the likes of Hachani Himoonde, Cliford Mulenga, and Jacob Mulenga etc. No player was ever produced by Sata or the PF. If anything PF tried to frustrate that winning national team. When FAZ recalled winning Coach Herve Renard the then sports minister Fackson Shamenda had refused to pay him on grounds that the PF government was not consulted! (See article by Reuben Kamanga in the Citizen Gazette for December 2011) So where was the victory claim for PF come from?

2.  PF: that Euro bond is MMD product, not yours.

Like they did on soccer, PF is now claiming credit for obtaining Eurobond loans. Eurobond was given because MMD and not PF built a strong economy.  PF is behaving like a man who inherits thousands of cattle. Suddenly, he goes about calling them munani, and eating them at every meal and using them as surety to get loans. Then allocates 1.5 billion to his wife and claims credit to ‘distributing’ wealth.  No matter how much PF distribute inherited wealth they won’t get the credit.  They kept opposing as the farmer called MMD was kuggobbola the field and cultivating it. But PF, seeing that the maize is ripe; they mobilize their numerous tribe and enter the filed.  Now they are saying, ‘you see you had no food under MMD, now look we are dishing out food upon arrival!’  Only a parasite PF cadre who thinks Sata should order my   chigayo (as a miller) to reduce mealie meal prices   to feed them can think like this! Private millers owe nobody cheap mealie meal. Go and farm and gaya your own mealie meal or tell Sata to buy his own chigayo instead of six guns.

3. PF. Do not rename things you did not build.

Like they did on soccer, PF inherited airports and hospitals and renamed them.  Sata is like a man who inherits the wife of a late brother but he is not able to produce his own children. So to appear to be productive, he renames all the children he inherits with names like Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Nkumbula, Kenneth Kaunda or Levy Mwanawasa.   As ‘men of action’, PF must do the real action and produce their own children and name them! Even the currency had to be renamed in the form of rebasing. The Kwacha got stable because of MMD. But Sata, to appear to be working, rebases the name of the child he inherits just because it was too long to pronounce! So what? Can the economy of the child grow because he has a shorter name? If so why is Sata who has a shorter name failing while Mwanawasa who had a longer name was successful? The economy will not improve merely because the kwacha has fewer zeros!

4. PF will not succeed in ruling with one tribe.

PF has dominated its administration with Sata’s fellow Bemba-speaking tribe. And it is failing to rule.  In the early 1990s, a letter writer in the Post Newspaper listed about eleven Bemba-speaking national soccer players (Charles Musonda, Kalusha Bwalya, Johnston Bwalya etc). To him, this soccer dominance was testimony that the non-Bemba must accept Bemba superiority and stop complaining about Chiluba’s alleged Bemba-biased appointments.

But alas! His one tribe team never won the African cup.  Yet our current national team which has virtually all the tribes in Zambia won it!  Of course most of these players are Lusaka/Copperbelt bred with little links with the villages of their ancestors. Some may be from mixed parentage. Others are themselves mixed-married; like Himoonde   to Charity Mtonga (an Easterner) and Felix Katongo to Mwaka Nakweti (a Westerner: ex MUVI TV presenter). But at least names traditionally from all regions are represented as follows:  Goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene ( Southern), Francis Kasonde/Joseph Musonda ( Northern-Luapula), Nyambe Mulenga ( Northern-Luapula/Western mix), Stophila Sunzu ( one parent from DR Congo) , Hichani Himoonde ( Southern), Nathan Sinkala ( Namwanga-Northern) Davies Nkausu ( Southern),  Chisamba Lungu ( Eastern), Isaac Chansa ( Northern-Luapula), Captain Christopher Katongo ( Northern-Luapula), Rainford Kalaba ( Northern- Luapula),  James Chamanga ( Eastern), Emmanuel Mayuka (Iam not sure), Collins Mbesuma-Kajiya (Northwestern)  and Felix Katongo ( Northern-Luapula). Second choice keeper Kalililo Kakonje has a Lenje parent.

Of course there are complaints.  In his fiction drama book, 2014: Zambia’s Constitution finally Righted (2007: page 132), Professor Imasiku Imenda, bitterly complains that the Zambia National Soccer Team has no Lozi players. He quotes his fictitious Lozi Prince Isimwaa (as he advocates for the Barotseland Agreement) as saying:

‘We do not even have Lozi people playing soccer in the Zambia National Team, which they have given a very strange name (Chipolopolo). Only those (tribes) who understand the meaning of this strange name play in it—there is no Mwendabi, no Imasiku, no Nalishebo, no Lyambela, no Inambao, and no Lubinda. It’s a shame to refer to such a team as a ‘national’ team when it’s so unrepresentative of the various peoples of the country’.

Justified as this complaint is, I believe his point is  (and rightly so) is not that we must select players on ethnic balancing basis but that we must invest  in sport countrywide, including our western province, and continue as it is to select players on merit.

5.  A stronger force will remove PF. In 2012 Zambian soccer was the stronger force. Now other stronger teams have come and removed it. And so verily, verily I say unto you. In future a stronger force than PF will surely come. All powerful men like Alexander the Great, Herod, Hitler, Mussolini, Chairman Mao, Stalin, Kaunda, Kaddafi etc collapsed. Sata is the weakest of these! Even the once powerful Mmembe is already reduced to a worshipper of an already weak President, Michael Sata. Make no mistake; The Zambian Watchdog is more powerful than The Post among internet readers.

6. PF, are you African champions in ruling? 

Finally, PF you must concentrate on becoming African champion in ruling.

Mwandini Mr Christopher Katongo,  Mr Kennedy Mweene and Mr Herve Renald. If any PF politician pressurises  you to be the best in Africa ask them ‘Is Sata the African Champion in ruling? ‘ No! They know he is the worst, with no world or African leader paying serious attention to him. He even fears meeting Zambian young journalists at a press conference does nothing and lets Mmembe sugar-coat him. Can Chishimba Kambwili be the best African sports minister? No for God’ sake! No one even knows him within CAF ranks. Can GBM be the best defense minister? Is Winter Kabimba, even considered among the top lawyers in Africa? Is Mr Fred Mmembe the best lawyer, accountant or journalist in Africa?

So what right do you have to demand our players to be the best? Mwandini you players. You have already achieved and proved that you were at least once the best in Africa.  Just go and enjoy your money and football at your clubs. If any PF cadres demand more from you, ask them’ are you the best voters in Africa? Show me the performance of the product you voted for! ‘

As for the rest of you Zambians, if you are not the best farmer, professor, civil servant fisherman, shoe polisher, sports reporter or ngwangwazi in Africa, you have no right to demand our players to be the best! Go and be the best yourself! Stop seeing football in the win/lose, superior/inferior way like Jose Mourinho. You won’t enjoy watching the winners. See it as entertainment like Arsene Wenger. Then you will enjoy cheering and watching the rest of the games even when Zambia is not involved.

Me  yaaya ndemu chaangu . I know I am not the best in Africa in my area.  I know my little place. So I am not demanding our soccer players to be the best in Africa!

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