In a few days’ time, Africa’s biggest soccer showpiece the Africa Cup on Nation (AfCON) kicks off in Egypt. For many Zambians, the biggest observation will be Chipolopolo’s absence for the second time in a row. Quite painful. So, how did we get here?
Last week, I was offline on a church mission and one thing that came up was the respect for the throne regardless of whoever occupies it. Of course this related to the presidency at national level. It got me thinking and I related it to our soccer.
Do we really love our soccer? Do we really want our soccer to develop and be a serious beacon to other nations? If we do, must we really care who is taking us there?
Well, here are my views. The current President of the Football Association of Zambia Andrew Kamanga was genuinely elected by people who are/were mandated to do so. I have never been Kamanga’s fan and frankly I find him quite arrogant. But that’s my opinion and should not take away the fact that he is president of FAZ.
Being president of FAZ does not make him perfect. If anything, it makes him vulnerable because the task is huge. What exactly do we expect of him? To deliver.
But what does it take to deliver? _Philippians 2:3- “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility value others more significant than yourselves.”_ Andrew is far from being a perfect president but we need to value the role he plays even if he is making a mess of it. We are allowed to condemn and criticise him because he is not our Lord of Football. But in our criticism, let us keep our eyes on the prize lest we lose it together with him. To deliver, he needs support in whatever form including positive criticism.
The prize in this case is our soccer. There is serious polarisation and division in our soccer today that we need deliverance to reunite. Whose fault is it? Andrew has his share and so do we. Yes, you and me. And who is winning? Nobody. Who is losing? Everybody. Most importantly, soccer is losing.
So *what exactly do we want?* Are we so obsessed in wanting to see Andrew’s downfall that we are ready to sacrifice our game to fall with him? How can we claim to love our soccer but not help the person in charge? The Lord in _Mark 3:34 says a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand._ Why then must we be surprised that we are not at Afcon and yet we are so divided? We blame Kamanga (or at least I used to). No, it is possible to have a bad leader and still be united.
The holy book has so many teachings on rebellion both on the part of the leaders and the led.
On the part of leaders, God dealt with King Saul when he thought he was the main man. On the led, Israel is a cycle of rebellion and restoration. Every time Israel rebelled, they would fall but each time they united, they would prosper regardless of who the King was at any given time.
In conclusion, am asking for unity if we are to make soccer succeed regardless of the authority at Football House. There is no way AK is leaving that seat until his time to do so comes. We can insult him and cast all manner of evil spells on him, it won’t change his status. In fact, be careful with your spells, you might be annointing him. After all God does have a sense of humour.
When his time to go comes, what will your preferred president find? If he finds things are a mess, he too will not deliver because he will need time to restore that which we helped destroy. And since we are an impatient divided lot, we would have removed a goat and replaced it with a sheep. A very bad tactical substitute (ku chosa mbuzi ku ika mo mbelele).
If we are to pray, let us pray for time. But then, God’s time is the best.
So, what exactly do we want? Ask yourself. As for me, I will support the leadership (not blindly) in my own way and help unite the soccer fraternity.