Stars of the Past with BENEDICT TEMBO
SEEING a former football player retired from his job on medical grounds is always a touching moment that is hard to forget.
It is seven years since former Nkana Football Club star Brian Chisenga was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
It came as a surprise that one of the most hardworking players at Nkana could be diagnosed with TB and relieved of his duties at the mines on medical grounds.
To him, the disease dealt the cruelest injury to his future. He did not hope that his stay at Mopani Copper Mines would end prematurely because of the airborne disease.
Chisenga was working in the human resource department of Mopani Copper Mines when he was told he had TB.
The diagnosis led to his retirement from the mines.
However, Chisenga, a former midfielder of the glorious Nkana, feels the diagnosis was faulty but does not know where to seek redress.
â€œThey [medical experts] said I had TB which has not been seen up to now,â€ Chisengalumbwe says.
Chisenga, who played for Nkana for 11 years, lives in Miseshi township, in a house he bought as a sitting tenant with his wife, a businesslady and three children.
The first in a family of five â€“ three boys and two girls – Chisenga was born on September 3, 1969 in Kitweâ€™s Miseshi-Natwangwe.
He was brought up by his mother, Agness Musafili while his father, Hamilton Chisenga, worked as a clinical officer who was later transferred to Kabwe where he died in 1996.
Chisengaâ€™s mother worked as a clerical secretary in the x-ray department at Kitwe Central Hospital.
Chisenga did his primary education at Ndeke from 1975 up to 1981 and went to Mukuba Seondary School but was later transferred to Ndeke Secondary School where he completed grade 12.
Chisenga started playing football when he was seven years old in Miseshi and later moved to Ndeke where he met different personalities like Moses Kunda who later played for Mufulira Wanderers), Lawrence â€˜Big Jimâ€™ Mweemba [current Ndola United coach], Peter Landamuka (late), Paul Mulenga (former Roan United player-and-coach), Peter Katowando, Julius Kashimu and Jacob Musonda, among others.
â€œWhen I was 12 years, I started playing at Mukuba Secondary alongside Reuben â€˜20 menâ€™ Sakala (late), Brighton Sichone, Lloyd Malama who is now in the United Kingdom. I was later transferred to Ndeke Secondary School where I played alongside Jolly Chambisha, Alfred Chaonza and late Dennis Lota,â€ Chisenga said.
Chisenga played at Arthur Davies Stadium during the tenure of Fred Mwila senior for Young Dynamos.
â€œHe [Fred Mwila] encouraged me a lot during training as I played with his son Fred Mwila junior (late). We played a lot of games as curtain raisers when Power Dynamos played against Simba Sports of Tanzania, Djoliba of Mali, Asante Kotoko of Ghana just to mention a few,â€ Chisenga said.
In 1985, Chisenga left Powerâ€™s developmental side and joined Ajax, Nkanaâ€™s nursery following advice from Lota, who was his classmate.
â€œThat was at Melody Stadium in Miseshi that is where I was spotted by [Nkana] coaches Moses Simwala and Stone Chibwe.
I was told to report to Nkana Stadium [in 1986],â€ Chisenga said.
The rising starâ€™s debut for the reserves was against Strike Rovers which Nkana won 3-1.
Chisengaâ€™s second match was against Kabwe Warriors which Nkana lost 6-1.
â€œFrom there, I was told by coach Moses [Simwala] that I was amongst those selected to go into camp for the game against â€˜Mightyâ€™ Mufulira Wanderers. I came in as a substitute and played last 20 minutes after replacing Reuben Sakala,â€ Chisenga said.
Simwala encouraged Chisenga to fight hard for a starting line-up slot in the next game.
â€œWe played Profund Warriors [now Napsa Stars]. I was a starter and I scored a goal,â€ Chisenga remembers.
Chisenga was on target again in the next game against Kalulushi Modern Stars, helping Nkana win 4-2, with the midfielder grabbing a brace.
The first goal came from a penalty while the second was after intercepting a back pass from defender Mwelwa Mupeta.
In the match against Konkola Blades, he was yet again a substitute, replacing Dominic Sikazwe and contributed a goal in the 2-0, with the other goal coming from Numba Mwila.
From there, Chisenga never looked back as he played several games for Nkana â€“ both local and international.
His debut on the international scene for Nkana was against Botswana Defence Force in Gaborone where Zambiaâ€™s Abraham Mubanga featured. Nkana won 3-1 courtesy of goals from Gibby Mbasela (two goals) and Godfrey Muselepete.
He also made an appearance against Fire Brigade of Mauritius whom they walloped 8-3 on aggregate.
Chisenga played for ZambiaÂ secondary schools in 1985 with Lota, Chaonza, Golden Kaira, Michael Nkhowani,
He was also called to the national team in 1988 for the outing to India which did not materialise but was left behind when the KK11 went to Kenya.
Chisenga retired from soccer in 1997 and was re-deployed in the human resource department in 1998.
In 2008, he was retired on medical grounds after being diagnosed with TB, ending his 19 years affiliation with the mine.
Chisenga had a stint as a coach between 2012 and 2013 when he tutored Banike Soccer Academy owned by Evans Mwambula.
Stars of the Past with BENEDICT TEMBO