Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
SO, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) executive will during its sitting today consider an application by its former president, Kalusha Bwalya, who wants to contest one of the positions at FIFA.
Apparently, there are seven slots in the FIFA Council of 38 reserved for Africa through the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which has five sub-regions.
The seven include CAF president, who automatically is FIFA vice-president, a female candidate and five from the five regional bodies
These are the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA), the West African Football Union A and B as well as the Union of North African Football Federations.
COSAFA as a region has put up two candidates who are serving FA presidents to contest one of the five seats for the region.
Each CAF region wants a share. So, the southern African body COSAFA decided that their candidate will come from a sitting FA president, meaning it can only be one of the 14 in the group.
Therein comes Kalushaâ€™s quagmire and thus, FAZ must make a position in harmony with COSAFA protocol taken into account.
Having played football at the highest level and being former FAZ president, there is pressure on FAZ to take a unilateral stance to endorse the ambitions of Kalusha.
Several years ago, Kalusha shocked the region when as vice-president, he also stood for the presidency of COSAFA with Teddy Mulonga, who was FAZ president.
This was a very strange precedent Kalusha set. He did not win. This is where Suketu Patel, the incumbent, emerged as the president of the regional body in SADC.
Now, the 14-soccer member body has the onerous task to come up with a candidate who is more appealing and who can impress the voters at FIFA assembly.
Kalusha may have desirable experience and knowledge but has no support of the regional soccer body.
At the moment Patel is the most eminent and highly suitable candidate for the regional FIFA slot for the region.
Kalushaâ€™s bridge was burnt when he lost the post of FAZ presidency and now wants the organisationâ€™s support for a FIFA executive position.
He cannot have his piece of cake and eat it. In terms of administrative capabilities, Kalusha is very qualified, so is Patel, who is also more capable and both are highly respected in the region and within FIFA circles.
During the recently held elections for the president of FIFA, Kalusha followed the instructions of CAF and supported a candidate from the Gulf States. CAF took a position and did not vote for the present FIFA president.
In the same manner, COSAFA has taken a stance and adopted two candidates – Patel and the yet to be named. That is the way it goes.
It is interesting to read comments by individuals asking FAZ to put national interest first by nominating Kalusha when the same people did not facilitate a mediation between Kamanga and the former president.
The relationship between Kalusha and Kamanga has been that of a cat and mouse, with the latter trying his best to reach out to the former for dialogue.
Does it have to take CAF president Issa Hayatou to remind Kalusha that he has been ignoring his successor, who won the March elections legitimately?
Should it take Hayatouâ€™s counsel for Kalusha to phone Kamanga?
Those advocating Kalushaâ€™s nomination have also not bothered to find out whether Kamanga is one of the two serving FA presidents COSAFA has put up to contest one of the five seats for the region.
Kalusha should have campaigned in the COSAFA region so that he could have been adopted to forestall the current scenario where his adoption is being pushed by people he has left in FAZ.
Kalusha should have written to FAZ secretary general Ponga Liwewe asking for endorsement.
Then his request should have now been formally tabled by the FAZ executive to consider its merits and de-merits.
Naturally, there are no de-merits but the 1988 footballer-of-the-year should have made peace with Kamanga so that he is able to face the incumbent FAZ president eye-ball-to-eyeball rather than deal with him and Ponga through proxies.
Assuming FAZ have already submitted their preferred nomination by now, will Kalushaâ€™s request hold?
Kalusha has earned his name in African soccer and deserves to get what he is aspiring for, but he knows the procedure in seeking a nomination.
During his time as FAZ president, I do not think Kalusha required the executive to debate his candidature and even now, he should never subject himself to debate â€“ whether by the executive or the public.
As things stand now, it is like FAZ has no choice but to give Great Kalu nomination to breach the COSAFA resolution.
The author is editorials editor at the Zambia Daily Mail.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO