Football Association of Zambia President Kalusha Bwalya has been accorded the Pilgrim award by the Island City of Goree in Senegal. The honour was conferred to Kalusha yesterday in recognition of his contribution to the game of football in Zambia, Africa and the entire world.
Speaking at a brief ceremony held at the Civic authorities building, Mayor, Augustione Senghor said the Island City has followed with keen interest the illustrious career of Kalusha Bwalya who in 1988 was voted African Footballer of the year.
“We are honoured to have such a distinguished Footballer on our Island. Every soccer loving Senegalese knows about Kalusha and remembers all that you have achieved. On behalf of this city and indeed on my own behalf I honour you with the highest accolade that this historical Island can offer. You are now our Ambassador and a citizen of Goree” Senhgor concluded.
Other people that have been given this award include current United States of America President Barrack Obama former United States President George Bush and late Pope John Paul the second.
Goree Island also known as the Point of No return was a Slave Trading port from which over twenty millions Slaves were shipped into the Americas. To this date the Island has ancient buildings from which the illegal trade was conducted during one of the darkest periods in human history. UNICEF has since declared the island a world heritage site.
Earlier in the day Kalusha was taken on a conducted tour of the Island, situated five kilometres away from mainland Dakar. During this tour, the FAZ boss saw the holding cells and some of the paraphernalia used in capturing and detaining slaves.
Meanwhile the Island was yesterday gripped with excitement when news spread that the Zambian football icon was around. Several people greeted Kalusha and we happier when they realised they could talk to him in French.
One lady by the name of Bigue Ndoye was at a point of tears as she shook hands with her hero saying it is her hope that her male children can grow up and be like Kalusha.
“I am very happy that today I have met a great man. May God bless you forever and ever” Ndoye said.
Kalusha is in Senegal as Vice Chairperson of the Organising Committee of CAF U23 championships currently going on in the Senegalese towns of Dakar and M’Bour.