GAME ON! With CHAPADONGO LUNGU
I DID not know that the consequence of FIFA president Sepp Blatterâ€™s resignation and subsequent investigation would lead to countries playing football on a pitch not even suitable for horse racing.
Let me go straight to the point or is it question? How, for Godâ€™s sake, can Karema Stadium in Sudan be a venue of a football match, sanctioned by FIFA, for that matter?
Strands of semi-green grass could be counted while there were huge swathes of sand. Every time players ran through the sand, they were buried in plumes of dust.
This is no exaggeration; those who watched Zambiaâ€™s World Cup qualifier against Sudan last Wednesday would attest to that. And do not forget that we are in the 21st century when some countries are able to regulate temperatures in stadiums!
Players risked not only their careers, but their lives playing on such a pitch. Where are FIFA? Are they also in hospital like Blatter?
And the man standing in as FIFA boss is, if I can claim, our own brother from Cameroon â€“ Monsieur Issa Hayatou. I do not want to believe thatâ€™s the standards he wants to impose on African football.
Somebody surely deserves a red card for allowing a FIFA match to be played on a pitch not even suitable for traditional wrestling practised in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yes, I mean the Mulozhi wa Balozhi vs William Tiger Boy Nkandu type of wrestling where spectators and referees would be hypnotised!
Yes, Sudan may have challenges with infrastructure, but I know that there are two good stadiums in Khartoum, which should have been preferred. If, for some reason, the good stadiums in the capital could not be used, the match should have been moved to a country with a usable stadium.
I donâ€™t want to imagine how good the washing rooms are. Anyway, maybe the Football Association of Zambia had a premonition and thatâ€™s why they carried three medical personnel.
Itâ€™s surprising Zambia edged the hosts 1-0 through a fortuitous strike by poacher Winston Kalengo. The Zesco United striker who, seemed to have hit his peak at Zanaco a few years back, is just about the saviour we have on the football pitch.
He is some late maturing variety type of player and I pray that someone upstairs grants him a few more years on the football pitch. He deserves our collective commendation, especially when he can score in some kind of beach football.
Someone suggested Sudan should be ferried to Kaole Stadium somewhere in Luapula for the return leg scheduled for today but I told him that poets teach us that â€˜an eye for an eye makes the whole world blindâ€™.
Letâ€™s welcome our brothers to our state-of-the-art Levy Mwanawasa Stadium where we use escalators and elevators to go to some terraces. Yes, where we can have a braii during the match and where the gods mysteriously sprinkle water from the playing surface depending on the parchedness of the turf.
I hope the term state-of-the-art has not been misused or even abused, but what is clear is that Karema Stadium in Karima is no stadium at all.
And Zambia must win big to show that they play better football on a genuine pitch. The Chipolopolo have never dropped a point against Sudan and I hope the record remains intact.
Just in case someone out there thinks we are close to qualifying for the World Cup, the truth is that the battle has not even started. If or when Zambia sidestep Sudanâ€™s challenge today, they will be pooled in a group of four or five to start proper qualifiers.
If they emerge top of the pile at the end of the group matches next year, they will be in Russia for the 2018 World Cup, which would be their first.
Itâ€™s a long way away.
GAME ON! With CHAPADONGO LUNGU