TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI
OVER the past two weeks the hood has been debating whether the senior Chipolopolo is better than under-20 national team, which has found favour in the bola na lesa [Football with God] morale booster phrase after ending their FIFA under-20 World Cup outing in South Korea in the quarter finals.
Of course, most senior Chipoloplo players are not under 20. Perhaps this is why most people on social media described them as Under-50 when they lost to Mozambique 0-1 in the Africa Cup qualifier match at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium last week.
Worse still, some social media enthusiasts relegated the senior national team to the dark days of Northern Rhodesia for their poor performance.
Well, I am not sure if coach Wedson Nyirenda would have been allowed to buy meat through a window by Sir Roy Welensky after seeing the team lose to Mozambique.
When I asked one soccer fan if the Under-20 national team players are really better than the senior national team players, he said, “Yes, that’s what I believe.”
Me: “Is it because the under-20 national team use bola na lesa phrase to boost their morale?”
Soccer fan: “It’s true. Many of our senior national team players use bola na beer (Football with beer) phrase, for obvious reasons, of course?
Me: “What are the reasons?
Soccer fan: “Senior national team players know that when they lose a match, fans always drown their sorrows in beer. The following morning fans would worry more about their hangovers than the loss by their team. Similarly, when the team wins, fans soak themselves in beer.
Me: “Did you tell ZAVOSOFA president Pastor Peter Makembo about the senior national team’s need for prayers so that the players perform using bola na lesa as opposed to bola na beer?
Soccer fan: “No. I didn’t tell him. I thought he did well in beating the drum for the under-20 national team in South Korea than praying for them. I will refer the senior Chipolopolo matter to the independent churches association.”
Me: “What do you have against the senior national team players?”
Soccer fan: “Nothing. Except that they make us miss the Under-20 exploits at the FIFA under-20 World Cup.
Me: “But they also brought you glory in 2012 after winning the Africa Cup of Nations and made a chief in Mkushi to pledge a farm for goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene?
Soccer fan: “I suppose you could say that. But the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea was more than that for us because it made our coach Beston Chambeshi start speaking in tongues on the touchline as opposed to kicking bottles of water and urging on his players to defend their lead.”
Me: “I guess he was flowing with the spirit of bola na lesa.”
Soccer fan: “Yes, we were quite lucky to have a coach who could speak in tongues on the touchline, and it was the first time that as fans we were given an opportunity to insult a soccer commentator for describing our country as poverty stricken and HIV infested.”
Me: “But you accused a wrong soccer commentator in the first place.”
Soccer fan: “Soccer commentators are the same, one moment they call you underdog, the other moment they praise you for coming from behind to win a match.”
Me: “What else do you think separates the under-20 national team from the senior Chipolopolo?”
Soccer fan: “The good performance of the boys in South Korea made some people from other countries start checking where Zambia is on the map.”
Me: “Are you saying that the senior Chipolopolo’s loss to Mozambique is making people start learning about pre-independence history as they call the team Northern Rhodesia?”
Soccer fan: “Yes, even the players have a chance to learn how we changed the name from Northern Rhodesia to Zambia. But the most important thing is for them to start playing bola na lesa as opposed to bola na beer or bola na Blood Pressure (BP).”