Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
ANDREW Kamanga finally throws his hat into the ring when he contests for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) board member position in tomorrow’s elections in Cairo.
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president hopes to be a direct replacement of Kalusha Bwalya, a man he replaced locally in 2016.
Although his nomination was acrimonious and largely debatable ethically, it is time for all Zambians to give their own as much support as possible.
The assumption is that Kamanga’s success at CAF will have a positive spill-over effect on the development of our game, which has suffered massive failure in recent years.
Zambia is a known football giant that should not suffer the humiliation it has in the last few years. That is why Kamanga should win the CAF position so that he can influence football development in the direction of Zambia and, of course, the southern African region.
The FAZ strongman will come up against four other candidates – Felton Kamambo of Zimbabwe, Sobha Samier from Mauritius, eSwatini’s Bomber Mthetwa and Elvis Chetty of Seychelles.
If anyone asked me, I would tell them that the race is tough but victory is achievable.
Kamanga should by now have established himself among associations having been FAZ president for close to four years.
For him to put his name ahead of Kalusha’s, he obviously must have weighed his chances well.
He fancies his chances. Fact, though, is that it will be a very tough race.
When Kalusha stood in 2011, he had quite a big return on the votes, grabbing 38 from a possible 54 at the time. This means he only dropped 16. That was remarkable.
Kamanga now needs to leverage on Kalusha’s popularity to help him win the seat.
Kalusha is well-established and may get one or two votes for his compatriot. I know it is a big ask considering events leading to the nomination. I also know that Kalusha has a big heart.
I hope Kamanga and his campaign team took advantage of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt to convince presidents of various football associations to vote for Zambia.
The country needs to have representation on the CAF executive committee because there are a lot of benefits that come with such a privilege.
We cannot afford to have no-one in the African governing body’s highest decision-making body.
In the last eight years, Kalusha carried the country’s mantle and it is for this reason that Zambia was able to lobby for the hosting of the 2017 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations and the CAF executive gave a greenlight.
This is seldom acknowledged but we should.
The country earned foreign exchange from hosting the continental showpiece and the junior Chipolopolo went on the way to lift the trophy.
The country was supposed to host the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in November this year but withdrew and CAF awarded Egypt the staging rights.
Kamanga should use the remaining hours to convince the voters on the need to trust him with the southern African position. Everyone knows that he is an accomplished accountant who has said quite a lot of good governance in football.
It is the country’s pride at stake and let’s all hope for Kamanga to emerge victorious.
For now, those gifted with intercessory prayer abilities should help out.
Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI