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Zambia has a King in Kalu

Date: Mar 30 2008
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Zambian football cannot be in better hands.
In Bwalya, they have elected someone who lives, breathes and eats football. His credentials speak for themselves.
And he’s not the sort of man to kowtow to those in power.
King Kalu is a man of principle, who is never shy to express his opinions.
His being a former footballer — the first and only African Footballer of the Year to hail from Southern Africa — means footballers in his neck of the woods are in for fantastic times.
In numerous conversations I have had with Bwalya, he has always struck me as someone who values humility as a cornerstone of his existence, a trait not associated with lots of the layabouts who govern the sport in our continent.
Bwalya has been and continues to be a selfless servant of soccer, be it as a player, coach or administrator.
He has a wealth of experience and his graduation from vice president to president is an affirmation of his contribution to football in his country.
His election should sound a warning to other African countries that former footballers have a role to play in development of the game in their nations.
African football is littered with associations inhabited by freeloaders getting fat on cronyism.
African football is governed by people who care less for the development of the game than for the benefits they accrue from their association with it.
In Bwalya, Zambia has someone who does not need the free flights, accommodation at five star hotels and financial allowances for attending meetings in which allegiance is blindly pledged to the leader and the corrupt bile he spews.
In his acceptance speech after winning the presidential election held on Saturday, Bwalya declared: “Zambian Football needs to become a continental powerhouse and reclaim its rightful place in African football once again.
“Our greatest asset is our soccer heritage; this we must undertake to restore to its former glory.
“Through one sustained, unified vision we will aim at enhancing the image of Zambian Football with every action we undertake.
“Through development at grassroots level we will aim to fully develop the untapped potential and natural football resource our nation has to offer.”
One has to wonder when this country will start embracing its former footballers in administration structures.
That day will not dawn because most of the suits at Safa are afraid of being exposed for how little they know.
And we all know how dangerous those armed with a little information can be.
Former footballers will continue being pushed to the periphery while failures like Conti Kubheka are rewarded with technical directorships for failing to coach a junior national team to the Olympics.
Congratulations King Kalu. May you take Zambian football to greater heights, just as you did with that educated left foot of yours.