ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
THE stage is set for todayâ€™s Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) elective annual general meeting at Kitweâ€™s Moba Hotel during which incumbent president Kalusha Bwalya will go eyeball to eyeball with business executive Andrew Kamanga and former committee member Henschel Chitembeya.
It is the first time the two erstwhile friends are meeting in front of the electorate, and it seems to be an evenly-yoked contest though book-makers would give Kalusha an edge because of the power of incumbency.
Though Kalusha may be seen as a front runner, others believe Kamanga has the necessary business acumen to change FAZ from a debt-ridden institution to a profit-making organisation.
While the focus will undoubtedly be on Kalusha and Kamanga, Chitembeya may, and just may, be that dark horse that turns the tables at the last minute.
All the 291 Premier League clubs will be represented, including those that are coming as provisional members and will be ratified today.
The stakes may be high but Kalusha is not dropping any ball of sweat as he says FAZ wants to demonstrate real democracy.
â€œWe are set and we hope to have a successful meeting tomorrow [today]. We have to show that there is democracy in football. I can only wish all the candidates good luck,â€ he said.
Kalusha is banking on the several development projects he has initiated aimed at improving the game to bounce back at Football House, where he has been since taking over from Teddy Mulonga in 2008.
On the other hand, Kamanga feels his vast experience in the corporate world and soccer administration will give him the necessary jolt for the top seat.
â€œEverything is good so far. I am already in Kitwe and we are just waiting for the meeting tomorrow [today],â€ Kamanga said.
He, however, knows that unseating Kalusha is not an easy task but he says he has done his homework having touched most parts of the country and convinced councillors about his ability.
Having served two terms already, Kalusha wants one more time before passing the baton.
In the 2012 election, Kalusha beat former Mufulira Wanderers and national team-mate Emmanuel Munaile to get the second term and is confident councillors will give him another mandate.
The other interesting battle is for the vice-presidency with incumbent Boniface Mwamelo battling it out against Pivoty Simwanza, Richard Kazala, Kephas Katongo and Mofya Chisala.
All the five candidates are confident of winning but book-makers have restricted the race to Simwanza and Kazala, both aligning with Kalusha.
Rix Mweemba is unopposed for the position of treasurer following the disqualification of Alex Munasha on account of not serving four years at club level as required by the FAZ constitution.
The six slots reserved for committee members have attracted 29 contestants.
These include Lenny Nkhuwa, Lee Kawanu, Happie Munkondya and Jeffrey Chipilingu, who are all serving in the Kalusha-led executive.
Those seeking to break that barrier are Andrew Banda, Violet Bwalya, Eutrasia Chambeshi, Elijah Chileshe, Stanley Chilimunda, Mike Chirwa, Francis Hafwiti, Arthur Kamulosu, Kabaso Kapambwe, Gabriel Kaunda, Brenda Kunda, Jordan Maliti.
Others are Alex Mambwe, Kennedy Matashi, Nelly Miamba, Victor Mpundu, Joseph Mulenga, Watson Mwale, Alfred Mwape, Gideon Mwenya, Felix Nsama, Timothy Phiri, Edwin Sisya and Blackwell Siwale.
The six candidates that will garner the highest votes will go through as committee members.
And Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Nkweto Tembwe says arrangements for the holding of the AGM have been finalised, MWILA NTAMBI reports.
â€œAll areas have been tackled and we are just waiting for tomorrow [today]. The stakehokdersâ€™ meeting we promised is going on at Moba Hotel as we speak,â€ Tembwe said.
. To build on the strong foundation for football development that he has laid
. To ensure Zambia qualifies for 2018 World Cup
. Seek increased sponsorship for football development
. To continue marketing Zambian football at international level
. To introduce pension and life insurance scheme for footballers
. Provide financial, business and soccer-related solutions to soccer communities
. To create the Premier League Organising Committee that will eventually run the Super League independently
. To introduce single nation-wide Division One comprising 16 teams by 2018
. To introduce a reserve league by 2017
. To find sponsors for Division One
. To promote amateur football
. To make the secretariat more effective
ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka