The football rivalry between FAZ president Andrew Kamanga and his predecessor Kalusha Bwalya is back in the limelight with the duo fighting for the nomination ticket to the Confederation of African Football (CAF). It is a rivalry that has refused to wither despite high level interventions from outsiders including a one-time cease fire by former CAF president Issa Hayatou in 2017 when the two egoistic personalities threatened to throw the under-20 tournament into disarray with their shenanigans.
In 2016, Bwalya and Kamanga were at loggerheads as the duo squabbled over who should get the Cosafa nomination for the FIFA Executive committee for Southern Africa.
Kamanga eventually acceded after being pushed by among other forces government and gave the Great Kalu the letter. However, Bwalya withdrew sensing the stringent integrity check at FIFA at the time he was facing corruption charges that later culminated into a ban.
At CAF, the way is wide open for the Great One as CAF does not embrace integrity checks for their elections. The only stumbling block in the Great One’s way is none other than Andrew Ndanga Kamanga.
Negotiating his way past Kamanga has proved difficult with the entire nation sucked into the squabbling of two grown men.
So divided has opinion been that some creative news organizations have even opened a poll on whom Zambians think should fly the Zambian flag in Cairo. Much as this initiative is exciting from a news perspective, the matter at hand can never be reduced to a popularity contest. In any case the two gentlemen would not be voted into office by the Zambian public. One needs to have done their homework in courting other regions to market their candidature. The popularity contests opened by news organizations are extremely naïve and oblivious to the gravity of the matter at hand.
Perhaps the questions Zambians should be asking themselves are, what value does a Kamanga or Great Kalu candidature bring to the Zambian game? In Great Kalu’s two terms what value has been added to the Zambian game? Does Great Kalu deserve more than two terms? Is Great Kalu guaranteed of the support of incumbent presidents who are going to cast the vote?
Kalu also has to deal with that one blemish when he went out of his way to elbow then FAZ president Teddy Mulonga out of the Cosafa race that he terribly lost.
On Kamanga’s part the public would also have to ask the same questions, has Kamanga done enough domestically to join the CAF elite club? Uncomfortable questions around the AFCON qualification failure continue to linger large on his head.
Great Kalu’s army of supporters point to his internationalist statute earned from his playing days as his greatest selling point that entitles him to wine and dine with the elite in football. While Kamanga’s backers believe that being the incumbent his candidature and victory would benefit the Zambian game as he would be lobbying from within. They reckon he could be better placed than someone who is not even in FAZ at the moment to lobby for Zambian success abroad.
Ultimately government’s decision will prove the deal breaker. Otherwise we pray that the Zambian game wins through all this mad egoistic fight.
The deadline for the nomination is May 31, 2019/ May the best candidate grab the nomination.