Ten Players who Shaped Zambian Football

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Excepts of Ponga Liwewe’s on ten players who, in their careers, were part of pivotal moments and periods that were instrumental in Zambia’s football’s sucess.
It is NOT a list of Zambia’s greatest players and is NOT in chronological order
1. Godfrey Chitalu
Nicknamed ‘Ucar’ after a popular battery brand manufactured by Union Carbide, Godfrey Chitalu broke barriers that no Zambian player would ever match.
He was named Zambian Footballer of the Year on five occasions, holds the record for the highest number of goals scored in a single season, 107, and ranks 5th on the FIFA list of scorers in international football with 79 goals.
2. Christopher Katongo
Led Zambia to victory in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, scoring three goals to share the top scorers award.
His exemplary leadership drove a group of players rated far below their opponents to an unexpected cup win that ranks as the greatest shock in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations.
3. Kalusha Bwalya
He became the most recognized player in Zambian football history by becoming the only player from Southern Africa to win the prestigious African Footballer of the Year Award in 1988 after Zambia’s outstanding performance at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
He scored six goals in four matches at the tournament, coming second to Brazil’s Romario who scored seven, but played two more matches.
His six goals at the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations makes him the highest Zambian scorer at a single tournament.
4. Wisdom Chansa
He became the only Zambian player to lead his team to a continental title when Power Dynamos beat Nigeria’s BBC Lions to win the African Cup Winners Cup in 1991, and was instrumental in the team that won its first league title in 1984.
He captained the Power Dynamos team to their second ever league title in 1991, the year of their African success.
The previous season, 1990, he led them to win three cup competitions in one season.
5. Freddie Mwila
He was one of the first Zambian players to play in England for Aston Villa alongside Emment Kapengwe. His goalscoring prowess made him one of the best strikers of his era.
Though Zambian players would vanish from European football for over a decade until the eighties, he is recognized as a pacesetter in breaking a barrier by playing in England after having earlier made his mark at Atlanta Chiefs in the USA in the National Soccer League, NSL.
6. Dickson Makwaza
He is recognized for leading Zambia to the final of the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations where against all expectation he captained Zambia against the powerful Zaire Leopards, Africa’s dominant team at that time.
The young Zambian side took a highly experienced Zaire team to a replay, making history in the process in the only final that has gone to a second match in CAF history with the first a 2-2 draw and Zambia losing the replay, 2-0.
7. Kapambwe Mulenga
When Nkana FC became the most dominant club side in Zambian football history, no other player epitomised what the club stood for more than’Gents Power’ Kapambwe Mulenga.
Robust at the back and renowned for his aggressive tacking, he also had a delicate touch that allowed him to play creatively in midfield. By far the most popular player in the team, he always gave 100% and Nkana’s nine titles in twelve years between the eighties and nineties stand out as testament to a team that totally dominated the local scene.
8. Peter Kaumba
A rampaging winger down the left flank who devastated defences for both club and country, between 1980 and 1994, Peter Kaumba was the most dominant player in Zambian football.
In 1982 he was the dominant figure in a Power Dynamos team that reached the final of the 1982 Africa Cup Winners Cup against Egypt’s Arab Contractors, becoming the first Zambian team to reach an African final.
That year he was the league’s top scorer, Footballer of the Year and Sportsman of the Year. Alongside the great Alex Chola, he played a pivotal role in taking Power Dynamos to the summit of Zambian club football.
9. Alex Chola
Zambia’s most skillful player ever, Alex Chola left his indelible mark on Zambian football with his unbelievable array of football skills that mesmerised football fans across the country and in African football.
The ‘Master Dribbler’ tore defences to shreds with immense dribbling ability and was equally adept at scoring goals, qualities that made him valuable equally as a centre-forward or second striker.
His move from Mufulira Blackpool to Power Dynamos transformed the Kitwe side, drawing thousands of fans to the fast-rising team and making them a household name in Zambian football. He played over 100 times for Zambia and won the 1976 Footballer of the Year award.
10. Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu
As Zambia’s football growth accelerated in the sixties, Zambia’s first football superstar. Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndlovu, emerged from Mufulira, thrilling crowds across the country with skills that were nothing short of amazing.
Grounds around the country were filled, and the Copperbelt became the launch pad for the start of an era that would see Zambia begin to become competitive against Africa’s best at continental football.
He led Mufulira Wanderers to five league titles between 1963 and 1969. Clad in the green and white stripes of Mufulira Wanderers, Zoom took Zambian football to the start of a new era as the popularity of the game propelled its players to new highs.
Credit: FAZ

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