1. Mr Teddy Mulonga. He presided over 3 Afcon qualifiers 1998, 2006 and 2008 (he had quit being president in 1999, but bounced back in 2004). Chipolopolo qualified for Afcon all the three times under his reign. He got to his name 3/3. Don’t mind the fact on all the three occasions, they didn’t go past the first hurdle.
  2. Mr Kalusha Bwalya. He presided over four Afcon qualifiers with Zambia qualifying to Afcon on all the attempts. The four sets of Afcon qualifiers being 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015. 4/4 to his name. Zambia were quarter-finalists and gold medalists in 2010 and 2012, respectively, when he was FAZ president.
  3. Three failed attempts to go to Afcon as FAZ president. That gives him a 0/3 rate, failing to go to the 2017, 2019 and 2022 tournaments. In each of the qualifiers, Zambia failed to go beyond 7 points, the worst performance in the qualifiers ever!
    Dissecting the 7 points Chipolopolo has failed to go beyond reveals very sad state of affairs. In the last two sets of qualifiers, 3 of the 7 points collected have been from dead rubber games. In the 2019 Afcon qualifiers, we beat Namibia 4-1 in the last game (meaningless win). In the 2021 Afcon qualifiers edition, Zambia again won the last game in Zimbabwe which was another dead rubber game.

With 2023 Afcon qualifiers starting soon, Mr Kamanga looks determined to have a 4th attempt at Afcon as FA president. Will he make it this time around? Time will tell.

Walking down memory lane, you will bump into another FAZ president, late Evaristo Kasunga who presided over two Afcon qualifiers – 2002 and 2004 editions. Out of two attempts, he secured one qualification. He is well-remembered for having not recontested the presidency in 2004 after failing to secure a slot at Afcon 2004. He was very disappointed to record 1/2 mark in Afcon qualifications. That’s a mark of truest integrity.

Further down memory lane, Mr Simataa Simataa (part of the qualifiers) and Mr Michael Chiti both had one attempt at Afcon qualifications, 1994 and 1996. They both made it, Mr Simataa got silver medal while Mr Chiti got bronze medal in the 1994 and 1996 Afcon editions, respectively. History will remember them fondly.
In the last 30 years or so, or since AFCON qualifiers started in 1973, Zambians can rate for themselves the performance of FAZ presidents in as far as national team performance is concerned. Let’s not forget that in 1992, for instance, there were only 12 countries at AFCON in Senegal. In 1974 when Zambia first participated, there were only 8 teams. But since then, the number of teams has exponentially increased. Today, almost half the continent qualifies (24 teams). If Zambia qualified when there were 8 teams, isn’t it a puzzle that they can’t qualify with 24 teams? Without being overly dramatic or religious, would anyone be wrong to say GOD SAVE ZAMBIA?

Mumbo Lombe
10th January, 2021


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