STARS OF YESTERYEAR with BENEDICT TEMBO
IN MILITARY circles they say, â€œOnce a soldier, always a soldier.â€
To put it in the context of those who have the undying passion for soccer, one would say, â€œOnce a player always a player.â€
The latter phrase aptly defines Lackson Mwinuna Chandaâ€™s personality in the game of soccer.
Chandaâ€™s inclination to soccer supports the widely held view that if you fall down pick up yourself and start afresh.
After going â€˜undergroundâ€™ during which period Broadway in Ndola was his playground, Chanda is back in soccer.
Chanda has realised that oblivion does not belong to him and has re-united with his childhood passion by taking up coaching.
He was hired by Indeni towards the end of the 2014 Super Division season but was unable to help the oilmen survive relegation.
Indeniâ€™s relegation has not deterred Chanda from pursuing his comeback dream and is hopeful Indeni will give him a lifeline to continue from where he left off last season â€“ despite the team not performing to expectation.
Chanda, whose soccer exploits were obscured by his more proficient brother, Jack, was born on January 1, 1960 in Luanshyaâ€™s Roan Hospital.
His father Satyele Machanda Mwinuna was a miner in Luanshya while his mother Bertha Mwinuna was a marketeer.
Chanda, a grandson of Chief Mwinuna of the Lamba- speaking people of Mpongwe, is the third born in the family of 10 children â€“ three boys and seven girls.
Chanda started his education at Makoma Primary School in 1968 then went to Nkulumashiba Primary School where he qualified to Roan Antelope Secondary School (RASS), where he found his late brother, Jack Chanda, Knight Mpundu, Manasse Jumbe, Lasso Laimoni and Reuben Muyeyembe, among others.
â€œI played football at school and just looking at the names mentioned above, you will agree with me that it was a very strong side. I say so because all of us in that team were Roan United players,â€ said Chanda whose favourite position was centre-forward.
Chanda was also a member of the Zambia Schools team where he played alongside Kalusha Bwalya, Jeff Sichande, Peter Makembo, among others.
â€œJack was my immediate older brother. I loved him so much. We grew up like twins. Our love for football started way back when we were kids. We spent most of our time playing football. The funny thing about this is that we started playing football together at primary. We also played at secondary school and at Roan United and to some extent at national team, I remember when we were in the starting line-up against Algeria at Independence Stadium, I will never forget him. It is good that his children are all big and all of them are working and looking after themselves.â€
Chanda started his football career with amateur club Baluba Mine United in 1977.
The following year, he shifted to Zamefa Cables Football Club which was campaigning in FAZ Division Three.
â€œI found a well learned coach in Philip Tembo [late]. In the same year at Zamefa, I won the top scorersâ€™ award,â€ Chanda says.
In 1979, Ginger Pensulo lured the young striker to join Roan United Football Club, following the footsteps of his older brother, Jack, once touted as African Pele.
â€œAt Roan United, I found my late brother Jack Chanda, Zambani Sailota [late], Joseph Mapulanga, John Mapulanga, Dick Kambuma, Rasford Mwelwa and Willie Chifita,â€ Chanda says.
At Roan, Chanda was converted into a right winger but sometimes reverted to his central-forward position.
â€œAs young players, we took competition to the club and some players started leaving the club,â€ says Chanda.
In 1982, he was approached by Vitafoam United whose club proprietor, Abraham Mokolaâ€™s passion for soccer was equivalent to Chelseaâ€™s Russian billionaire owner, Roman Abrahamovic.
Chanda obliged and signed for Vitafoam in the same year.
â€œI found very good players like Fighton Simukonda, Boniface â€˜Killerâ€™ Chanda, Richard Mwanza, Ronald Mkandawire, Bernard Chomba, Edgar Mulenga and Kim Musonda,â€ Chanda recalls.
Being bankrolled by the man who owned Furniture Corporation Limited and with links in the United Kingdom, Vitafoam attracted very good players every season.
â€œWe were very lucky to have a patron in Mr Mokola who had football at heart. Mr Mokola loved football more than anything else. The first game I played for Vitafoam was against Power Dynamos. Power had players like Alex Chola (late), Peter Kaumba, Edwin Kanyanta, Lucky Msiska, Abel Mwelesho and Wisdom Chansa,â€ Chanda says.
We lost that game by 3-1. I spent 13 seasons with Vitafoam both as a player and coach. My best seasons in my playing time were in 1985 and 1986. In 1985, we won promotion to the Super League and the end of the season, I was top scorer and I was one of the five players who were sent for attachment to Blackpool FC in the UK. Others were Chilufya Mwenya, Ronald Mkandawire, Emmanuel Silungwe and Lucky Chungu. Mr [Jedrick] Lundwe who was the coach by then also accompanied us.
When we returned from the attachment, the first game was against Kabwe Warriors at Railways Ground [now Godfrey Chitalu Stadium] in Kabwe. I remember this (game) was live on radio. It became more exciting because on our way back, we met Mr Dennis Liwewe at Heathrow Airport and we were on the same flight to Lusaka. We had a point to prove considering that we just returned from the UK and Kabwe Warriors had the sharpest frontline in the country.
The likes of my late brother Jack Chanda, Godfrey Munshya, Adwell Sinkala, Bizwell Phiri and all the players that featured were all internationals. You can imagine that the ground was full to capacity and for the first time, I saw people allowed to sit on the pitch around the ground. We beat them 3-1. I scored two goals and Chilufya scored one.
Chanda was capped once for the KK11 under Brightwell Banda and Boniface Simutowe.
His only appearance for the national team was against Algeria on March 7, 1982 at Independence Stadium, playing alongside his brother. Zambia lost 0-1.
Chanda says having been one of Vitafoamâ€™s most dependable players, his club usually withdrew him from the national team to honour club duties.
Chanda won three trophies with the indomitable Vitafoam, which became a third force in Zambian football at a time when sides like Zesco United and Indeni were not a factor, not even in Ndola.
Chanda held his first silverware in 1983 when he inspired Vitafoam to a 6-0 deluge of Ndeke Eagles.
â€œIn 1984, we won the same cup (Heroes and Unity) after beating Nkana 4-2. I scored two (goals) Chilufya (Mwenya) also scored two (goals).
His last silverware was the Charity Shield which they won after beating Mufulira Wanderers 2-1. Chanda scored one while Emilio Chanda scored the other.
Chanda has attended several coaching courses to bring himself to speed with modern football, including the six week stint at Lilleshall in the United Kingdom in 1990 and CAF C licence last year.
His coaching experience is traced back to 1990 as a player/assistant coach at Vitafoam where he served as assistant coach in 1992 until 1993 when the team disbanded.
In 1995, he moved to Zesco United as an assistant coach and later migrated to the capital city to become head coach at Rumlex Football Club in 1996.
After two years in the capital city, he relocated back to Ndola and took over at Ndola United up to 1999.
Chanda then disappeared from the soccer scene when he concentrated on work as Copperbelt regional manager for CR Carriers as it entailed travelling a lot.
He only to re-appear last year and started from the scratch by doing a D licence and then acquired a CAF licence.
Indeni, in need of fresh ideas to re-align their aspirations, hired Chanda before it was too late.
Chanda married Noliva Mudenda in 1982 but lost his wife in 1997. In 2006, he re-married Elizabeth Kashiya but despite being a minister in the Redeemed Christian Church, he made a bold decision to divorce in 2007 due to what he says were misunderstandings over his children.
â€œOff course, I chose my children,â€ Chanda says.
He had six children but three have passed on and has remained with three; two boys and one girl. Rex Chanda junior plays for Ndola United.
STARS OF YESTERYEAR with BENEDICT TEMBO