Philip Payela was Born on 15th July 1937.

He was, popularly known as Philip Sabu.

He played as a goalkeeper .He was popular with Fans because of his acrobatic antics between the posts .

Sabu was a member of the first incarnation of the Zambia National team at independence day in 1964 .

Sabu was born in Ndola and that’s where he first began playing football at the age of 13 .

His main inspiration was Yotham Mabange, goalkeeper of the Ndola Home Defenders.

After playing in various youth teams in the Masala neighbourhood, Sabu joined the Ndola Black Follies.

The follies trip to RHOKANA UNITED in 1957 was a turning point in young Sabu’s Career because the first and the second choice goalkeepers were not available, so Sabu who was just 20 at the time, was given a responsibilities between the posts. He featured in three games, which they all won and didnt concede .The performance and the fact that he was not a initially a first choice player earned him the Nickname Philip “Sabu” (Sabu was short for substitute).

Sabu moved to Mufurila Blackpool in 1961 and had one of the best Matches of his career during the final of the Castle cup against Nchanga Rangers in October 1963 .

A week before the final , Blackpool had lost a league Match 12:0 to Rangers but Blackpool upset the odds 4:2 to win the trophy and the right to face off with Salisbury Callie’s for the converted inter_ Rhodesia Castle Cup at Kafubu Stadium in luanshya . Unfortunately , Blackpool lost to the Callie’s 2:0

Sabu was in the inaugural Zambia national team squad that lost all it’s games during an independence tournament in October 1964 that featured Uganda , Kenya and Ghana .

After four years with Blackpool,Sabu returned to Ndola United for a transfer fee of K700, a lot of money in 1968 .

He was also in the national team that played against Leicester city when the English side toured Zambia in May 1968 .In the tourist Second game played at independence Stadium in Lusaka ,Sabu was in goal and this turned out to be his last game for zambia ,which they lost 1:0. He got injured when the Leicester striker Frank Large crushed into him and he ended up in hospital.

He was letter discharged just to find himself alone without food and transport .Still dressed in his goalkeepers jersey and without shoes ,Sabu was neglected by FAZ Officials and help only came in the form of Donald Lightfoot one of the organizers of the Leicester city trip .Who bought him some sandals and an air ticket to Ndola .He recovered his clothes from the director of sports office but after this experience Sabu quit playing for Zambia .

In January 1970 ,Sabu announced his retirement from the game of football to the dissapointment of his admirers ,due to the series of injuries and due to the fact that his wife was not in support of his football career ” “my wife never liked it when I played football” he disclossd,”I had been playing football against her will .

However, he made a come back and played for RHOKANA UNITED in 1973 aswell as second division side Mindolo United , helping them to win promotion to the top league in 1976 .

Sabu later served as Mindolos Admistration Manager and after that ,he dissapeared from the football scene completely.

He died on 27th April 2008

-source: Desiderious Chuumbu


  1. Very educative article. I thought he was called sabu because he used to “ukusabuka” (somersault?).

    Keep the articles flowing. Thank you.


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