Kalusha Bwalya (born August 16, 1963 in Mufulira), popularly known simply as Kalusha, is a Zambian footballer and coach. He is Zambia's most capped player, all-time top goalscorer, and is regarded as the greatest Zambian player to play the game. He was named African Footballer of the Year in 1988 by the magazine France Football, and was nominated for the 1996 FIFA World Player of the Year where he was voted the 14th-best player in the world.
Kalusha became familiar with football in his early childhood. Just like many other African boys, he and his friends played in the streets and that is where he learnt basic football skills. They played barefoot, sometimes with a genuine ball and sometimes improvising with plastic or paper.
He always played with his brother and they almost always won. They were good technicians and from the start everyone told him he was going to be very successful. Kalusha got involved in football from an early age and because his father worked as a football administrator, wherever dad went, his sons went. As well as Zambia, the family travelled all of the southern part of Africa.
Kalusha saw many matches at an early age, especially those of the local club. He was active as a ball boy now and then and that was how he met Mufulira Blackpool’s important players who had a great influence on him. At 14 years of age, he started league matches in the Blackpool youth team and and actively began his career in 1979 at age 16.
He played for Zambia’s top team, Mufulira Wanderers and here the ambitious Bwalya learnt a great deal from the experienced players. Because of his education in which discipline, respect and ambition to be the best were central, he was a quick learner and picked up on the level. In 1984, Kalusha became Zambian football player of the year.
In 1986, Belgian club Cercle Brugge contracted the Zambian for $25000. In all, Kalusha played 73 matches and scored 31 times for Club Brugge. Bwalya 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. In that same year, he made a huge transfer and was contracted by PSV, which had just won Europacup 1 at that time. At the end of 1988, The Great Kalu as he was nicknamed, was even honoured African football player of the year. In the five seasons during which he played for the club from Eindhoven, he became national champion three times, won the national cup twice and the super cup once. He played 106 matches for the PSV and scored 25 goals in total.
After his adventure in the Netherlands, Kalusha left for Mexico and Club America in 1994. In 1997 and 1998 he played for yet another two Mexican clubs, Necaxa and Leon. In 1998 he left to the United Arab Emirates for a short period of time, where he played for Al Wahda. In the end Mexico appeared to be the final station for Kalusha’s club career and he played for Irapuato and Vera Cruz before closing with Correcaminos in 2000. Of this period in his career he said; “I love Mexico. I was reborn and played my best football there. Nothing compares to playing a match for 120 000 spectators in the Azteca stadium…”
At the full international level, he appeared in 100 international matches and scored 50 goals from 1983 to 2004. He debuted against Uganda in 1983, and appeared in multiple tournaments, including six editions of the African 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 April 27, 1993 when the entire team and its management were killed when the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Gabon. Kalusha Bwalya, 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 CAF African Nations Cup 1994 in Tunisia -- where they succumbed 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 African 2006 World Cup qualification matches. In September 5, 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, and marked his 100th appearance with his 50th goal for the country, scoring from a trademark direct free kick to give Zambia a 1-0 victory and the lead of Africa's 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 African Cup of Nations. Following their elimination in the first round, however, Bwalya resigned from his post.
He has nevertheless remained actively involved in international football, contributing to the 2006 World Cup as a member of FIFA's Technical Study Group. He is also one of the ambassadors of the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa.
In the first half of 2006, Bwalya resigned from his position as the Zambia coach but still remained vice president of the Football Association of Zambia. This was as a result of pressure from members of the Football Association of Zambia as well as the media. As of 24 July 2006, Patrick Phiri is the caretaker coach of Zambia, but media reports suggest that the Football Association of Zambia is seeking an expatriate coach to take up a permanent role.
On the 29th March 2008, Kalusha was elected the new President of the Football Association of Zambia (Faz). Bwalya won the poll in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, to earn himself a four year term.
KALUSHA BWALYA - BIO
Born Mufulira, Zambia
Birth Date: 16th August 1963
- 1979 -1980 Mufulira Blackpool (Zambia) (17)
- 1980 – 1985 Mufulira Wanderers (Zambia)
- 1982 – Zambian National Team (19)
- 1984 - OGDS ‘Order of Government Distinguished Service’ (Zambia)
- 1985-1988 – Cercle Brugge F.C (Belgium)
- 1988 – African Player of the Year
- 1988 – 2nd top goal scorer at Seoul Olympics (Korea)
- 1988-1994 - PSV Eindhoven (Holland)
- 1994 -1997 – Club America (Mexico)
- 1996 Top Goal scorer Africa Nations Cup (South Africa)
- 104 Senior National Zambia Team Caps
- 50 goals scored for Zambian National Team
- One of the most notable moments of glory was probably when he led a young Zambian side to the finals of the 1994 African Nations Cup less than a year after the tragic plane crash that killed most of the Nations best football players.
- 2002 – Presidential Merit of Order Award (Zambia)
- 2003 – present - appointed SA2010 Bid and 2010 World Cup Ambassador
- 2003 – present – Vice President Football Association of Zambia.
- UEFA coaches “A” Licence
- 2003 -2006 Technical Director and Head Coach Zambian National Team
- President of the Kalusha Foundation Trust (Zambia)
- FIFA Technical Committee Member (since 2004)
- 2004 Olympics – FIFA Technical Study Group Member (Athens, Greece)
- 2006 – FIFA World Cup Germany – Technical Study Group Member
- 2007 – FIFA U17 World Cup Seoul – Technical Study Group Member
- 2008 - President Football Association of Zambia
- Zambian Sportsman and Footballer of the century
- Athlete Committee member of WADA (World Anti-doping Association)
- All Africa Games 2011 – COJA/LOC
- Awarded ‘Africa’s finest 10’ in the last 50 years by CAF at CAF awards February 2008
- Holder of Diplomatic Passport.