Football is a unifying factor

By James Sibeleki | May 17, 2019

AMID the gloom and doom of life, football becomes the only unifying factor where everyone feels equal.

The game can rebuild a country, cease fire in times of wars or provide a beacon of hope in times of despair.

There is no such a social activity as football that can bring people together in great numbers with so much passion and enjoyment.

Regardless of age, gender and ethnicity; football is enjoyed by all and sundry. More importantly, it propagates universal values that transcends language and culture.

In societies where people with disabilities are marginalized football offers a platform and increasing access of participation.

Such is the power of football which has unfortunately torn apart the masses in Zambia.

The rivalry between FAZ President Andrew Kamanga and his predecessor; the 1988 African player of the year Kalusha Bwalya has culminated to levels which bats an eyelash.

Cabinet ministers; and even the forth estate have not been able to sit on the fence over this prevailing rivalry.

Last year, a cabinet minister waged a verbal attack on FAZ President Andrew Kamanga to resign on a ground that he has lamentably failed and that he might further plunge our football into Orwellian.

Later, the same minister made an offer to take care of Kalusha Bwalya’s fine that FIFA had slapped him – coupled with a ban for receiving gifts. He made it palpably he was for the King.

This year, the man dubbed “Cool Kamanga” and King Kalu have once again reinvigorated their rivalry; this time for a tussle of the FAZ nomination letter to vie for the CAF Executive committee membership.

The football fraternity in Zambia is once again polarized. Africa is not left out either.

Last night I watched Soccer Africa magazine show on pay channel SuperSport as the Zambian issue divided the Wise men of African football who have been conceiving nuggets of wisdom every Thursdays 21: 00 CAT.

My good friend from Abidjan, Mamadou Gaye was for Kamanga while the man from the other side of our byline; in the Democratic Republic of Congo Jeff Katala was for Kalusha Bwalya.

Admittedly, this rivalry has heightened to the level which bats an eye lash. How can football unify people in Zambia when football leaders are always at loggerheads?

How can we cheer Chipopolo and jeer opponents together when others are for Kamanga where as the other are for Kalu. We must sing as one Zambia, one nation.

It’s high time the two figureheads put their egos aside and embark on a unifying mission.

We once were divided as a nation by a tiff between hiphop stars Mwila Musonda and Mulaza Kaira. The rivalry went on divide the country in two territories: Kopala and Lusaka.

Lately we are seeing Slap D and Mack 2 on charming offensive to Unite the country into one voice. I believe Kamanga and Kalu are distinguished gentlemen; they can as well take a cue from Musonda and Kaira.

If that fails to happen, State house must intervene. The head of state, His excellence president Edger Chagwa Lungu should summon the duo at state and broker the truce.

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