THROW BACK | BERNARD ‘Bomber” CHANDA
Bernard Chanda was one of Zambia’s greatest strikers and was the league top scorer three times.
Chanda was born in Luanshya in 1952 and first turned out for amateur side Buseko United in the mid-sixties.
He went to Roan Antelope Secondary School and later joined Roan United where he burst onto the scene as Roan’s top scorer in 1969 and was selected to the Zambia Schools national team.
He was still a schoolboy when he was called to the national team when Zambia faced off against visiting French side RC de Strasbourg in June 1970 and was again his club’s top marksman that season, finishing as one of the country’s leading goal-scorers in 4th place with 43 goals behind eventual winner Sandy Kaposa of Kabwe Warriors, his clubmate Boniface Simutowe and Kitwe United’s Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu.
Nicknamed ‘Bomber,’ he played for three of Zambia’s biggest clubs – Roan United, Mufulira Wanderers and Rokana United, and is remembered for scoring a hat-trick in the 4–2 semi-final victory over Congo at the 1974 African Cup of Nations tournament.
Chanda was voted Zambian Footballer of the Year in 1974 and is fourth on the list of all-time goal scorers for Zambia in international matches behind Godfrey Chitalu, Alex Chola and Kalusha Bwalya with 29 goals.
A born goal-scorer, Chanda was a striker in the classic mould with powerful shooting and great control. When he expressed his desire to leave Roan during the 1971 season, the club suspended him for six months to ward off interest from Wanderers and Rokana until the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) moved in to pave the way for his transfer to Mufulira in August 1971, and within two months, had won his first piece of silverware when the ‘Mighty’ men coincidentally met Roan in the Castle Cup final at Dag Hammarskjoeld Stadium on 10 October 1971 in Ndola and prevailed 5–4 with Chanda sharing the goals with Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu and Abraham Nkole who scored a hat-trick.
That same month, he made his debut for Zambia a week later in a 2–0 defeat to Kenya at the same stadium, in the Peter Stuyvesant series of matches. He scored his first goal for Zambia in the next match in the series when Zambia turned the tables with a 3–1 victory in Kitwe before losing the deciding match 1–0 in Lusaka.
At the end of the season in 1973, he tied with Chitalu for the top scorer’s award with 41 goals. Chanda would probably have finished the season as outright top scorer had he not decided to boycott matches to force through his transfer from Wanderers to Rhokana United.
At first, the Mufulira side was reluctant to release him but they relented and he moved to Kitwe for the then record fee in Zambian football of K4,000.
With his distinctive afro hair-style, he earned the nickname ‘Bomber’ due to his lethal finishing and the devastation he would wreak on many an opposing defence.
After almost ten years with Rhokana, Chanda switched camp to Kitwe rivals Mutondo Stars at the end of the 1981 season though his best days seemed to be behind him.
He took up coaching and in 1985, he crossed over to Botswana to coach Gaborone United. He came back to Zambia in 1986 and became coach for Kafue Textiles FC, leading them to promotion to the Premier League in 1987 and for this feat, was nominated for the Coach of the Year award which went to Bizwell Phiri of Premier League champions Kabwe Warriors.
Chanda died on 16 May 1993 in Luanshya Mine Hospital after poor health, which saw his legs swelling and causing him to be hospitalised for three weeks prior to his death.
He was laid to rest at Ndola’s Kansenshi Cemetery and was survived by a wife Milika and three children.