Zambia nominates Kalusha for FIFA Council membership: courts COSAFA members for support

At its meeting held in Lusaka on Saturday, 5  November 2016, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has agreed to support its immediate former president Kalusha Bwalya in his bid for the candidacy for FIFA Council Membership.

Bwalya: Getd Zambia's nod
Bwalya: Getd Zambia’s nod

And as a sign of solidarity of Kalusha’s candidacy, FAZ intends to invite the presidents from the affiliate members of the Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) to visit Zambia to lobby them to support Kalusha’s candidacy.

COSAFA affiliate members include Zambia, Malawi, Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

The press statement from Faz signed by general secretary Ponga Liwewe, FAZ will also send a formal request to the Zambian Government to join in the lobbying of Kalusha’s candidacy.

Kalusha, Zambia’s second most capped player after Joseph Musonda and second all-time top goalscorer behind Godfrey Chitalu, lost the FAZ presidency to businessman-turned football official Andrew Kamanga by 163 to 156 votes in what many thought was an impossible task for the challenger during elections in March 2016.

He served as FAZ president from 2008.

According to Wikipedia, his career as a player, coach and FAZ president is partly shown in the documentary film “Eighteam”.

Wikipedia documents that Kalusha was nominated for the 1996 FIFA World Player of the Year where he was voted the 12th-best player in the world, the first to be nominated after playing the entire year for a non-European club.

He was a member of the national squad that participated at the 1988 Olympic Games, making his mark with a most famous hat-trick in a 4–0 victory against Italy.

At the full international level, he appeared in 147 international matches and scored 100 goals from 1983 to 2004. He debuted against Sudan in April 1983 at Dag Hammarskjoeld Stadium in a Cup of Nations qualifier in Ndola, and scored his first goal against Uganda in a World Cup qualifier the following year at the same venue.

He has appeared in multiple tournaments, including six editions of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Although he was captain of the national football team during the qualification matches for the 1994 World Cup, Kalusha was not on the ill-fated flight on 27 April 1993 when the entire team and its management were killed when the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Gabon.

Kalusha, who became Africa’s most famous ‘Number 11’, took on the mantle of spearheading the revival of the national side the following year, captaining the side to the runners-up spot at the Nations Cup in 1994 in Tunisia after losing to the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

This was to be the peak of his own career and Zambian football for a long time to come. The national team finished in 3rd place at the next edition of the Africa Cup in South Africa in 1996, with Kalusha jointly winning the Golden Boot Award as the topscorer at the tournament.

He was a player-coach during the 2006 World Cup qualification matches. On 5 September 2004, Zambia played Liberia, and the match was tied 0–0 minutes before the end. Kalusha, aged 41, came off the bench during the second half, scoring from a trademark direct free kick to give Zambia a 1–0 victory and the lead of their Group 1.

However, Zambia finished third and failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

Despite the failure to qualify, Bwalya coached Zambia at the 2006 Nations Cup but following their elimination in the first round, he resigned from his post.

Kalusha’s dream of holding the coveted Nations Cup title came in 2012 when the Chipolopolo, who were underestimated by many football pundits, upset the star-studded Cote d’Ivoire to clinch the title in Gabon.

He currently serves as a standing committee member at FIFA and the Confederation of African Football.

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