FAZ & FIFA: The role RB played in the infamous Kamanga, Kalusha ceasefire meeting in Zurich

History has a tendency of repeating itself.

Dickson Jere wrote on page 141 of his book – Inside the Presidency – Published in 2014.

“It took a telephone call from President Rupiah Banda to the President of FIFA, Stephen Blatter, to save Zambia’s football from international ban.

FAZ was ridden by internal divisions that resulted in two parallel executive committees – both claiming legitimacy.

FIFA was concerned and ready to crack the whip if the confusion persisted. But there was no solution in sight, as the two ‘warring’ parties would not see eye to eye.

The President, a staunch and lifelong soccer fan, watched from a distance before intervening to the save the situation.

“FIFA warns Zambia of consequences of dispute within FAZ,” read the BBC headline of the online edition of November 30, 2010.

“Get me the number for Blatter,” the President told me after I showed him the report.

Apart from my regular job, he had assigned me the additional responsibility of looking after the interest of the country’s national football team as well as other sports. Like him, I was a football fan..

After a brief conversation with Blatter, the President looked relieved.

“He has agreed to meet the two camps and resolve the matter,” the President who was the Patron and lifelong member of FAZ said.

He asked me to draft followup letter to FIFA president thanking him for his kind understanding and also to inform him of the delegation that was expected to travel to Zurich, Switzerland, for the meeting.

The delegation headed by sports minister Kenneth Chipungu included Zambia football icon who was President of the FAZ Kalusha Bwalya and the executive opposed to him was headed by businessman Andrew Kamanga…”

FIFA eventually sent a delegation to Zambia and the issues were resolved after a meeting at State House.

“Why is it not interference when government gives FAZ money? the President asked.

He was concerned that FIFA only came in when government demanded accountability but quiet when FAZ received assistance from the same government.

FIFA delegation was shocked to hear that government literally bankrolled FAZ activities and that it was taxpayers money that was subject to Auditor General scrutiny.
All ended well after the State House meeting!

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