King Kalu honoured, Peter ignored • Zambians show how sports heroes should be treated

Eddie Chikamhi,Senior Sports Reporter

THE move by Lusaka City Council to rename a road in Zambia after one of the country’s legendary football players — Kalusha Bwalya — has reignited debate over the lack of recognition for sports personalities in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans have, for a long time, had divided opinions over the attitude and treatment given to sports people during and after their careers.

The world over, sports heroes are getting recognition with street names, arenas and stadiums being named after them.

There are many such heroes in Zimbabwe, the likes of legendary footballers George “Mastermind” Shaya, Freddie Mukwesha (late), Peter Ndlovu, Moses “Bambo” Chunga and Bruce Grobbelaar, swimming icon Kirsty Coventry, the late sprint star Artwell Mandaza, karateka Samson Muripo and boxers Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago and Proud “Kilimanjaro” Chinembiri (both late).

There are also cricketers — Dave Houghton, Andy Flower and Andy Pycroft — and the “Golden Girls” of field hockey who won Zimbabwe its first gold medal at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow in the then Soviet Union (now Russia).

The list is endless and the culture has been to forget about these people and let their legacy die.

While Zimbabweans are still trapped in the bad tradition of only remembering people at their death, Lusaka City Council in neighbouring Zambia this week gazetted and renamed some roads among them, the Kalusha Bwalya Road, in honour of the former Chipolopolo captain.

Road signage inscribed with Bwalya’s name is set to be unveiled early next month, with the 56-year-old invited to be part of the fanfare.

Former Zimbabwe internationals Thomas Sweswe and 1996 Soccer Star of the Year Stewart “Shutto” Murisa yesterday said sometimes it’s not about the money, but the appreciation for the years that the stars spent wowing the fans and lifting the country’s flag high.

“I really don’t know the problem we have here in Zimbabwe. We only raise our heads high when someone has died and afterwards we again forget about everything he/she has done,” said Sweswe.

“Recognition is not only about money, but a way of saying thank you for what you did. The Zambians have named a road after Kalusha Bwalya and it’s a great thing, I tell you.

“I don’t know how it is done here, but I think we can learn one or two things from our neighbours. It’s very key to recognise people who have lifted the country’s flag high be it in football, athletics, boxing, karate or even in the arts industry.

“It’s about preserving the legacy of an individual and the sports industry in general. Most of these guys die with their legacy, but Kalusha’s name will live for a long time to come in Zambia and many young people will be inspired to do exactly the same as he did or even try to surpass him,” said Sweswe.

The City of Harare made a proposal at its council meeting in February this year to name the popular Vietnam Bay at Rufaro Stadium after the legendary Shaya, but no one knows what happened to the plans.

No ceremony was conducted to make the change official.

In fact, there has never been a real follow up to the idea.

The last that was heard from the Harare City Council was the promise to engage the Minister of Local Government, July Moyo, to approve the resolution which also intended to honour boxer Charles Manyuchi and the late musician Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo.

“The decisions are actually based on previous full council deliberations and, as such, I do not expect objections when we convene possibly next week between 21 and 23.

“On Manyuchi, it was a resolution by a full council meeting some time ago in 2017 and I am talking of the previous council. So here it is just a matter of implementation of an old resolution.

“So basically it is just a matter of tying up loose ends and presenting our position to the minister, from which we will get direction,” said Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba, then.

Former Soccer Star Murisa said they have tried to follow up the idea with the City Council but without success.

“What the Zambian authorities did is a very noble thing and it is always worthwhile to learn from the good things that others do. We don’t have to wait for a person to die and then say good things about him.

“People can also be honoured whilst they are alive. This year the Harare City Council announced they were naming one of the bays at Rufaro after George Shaya but up to now nothing has materialised.

“I am one of the people who have tried to do follow-ups with the authorities and it hasn’t been helpful. Time and again we have seen people in politics getting their due recognition.

“It’s good but what about the sportsmen and women? I would be happy to see a stadium or any other monument being named after Peter Ndlovu, George Shaya or Moses Chunga,” said Murisa.

Football coach Newsome Mutema, who is also Soccer Coaches’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, said Zimbabwe faces a crisis of some proportions because they like celebrating foreign stars and forgetting their domestic heroes.

Most of the sports personalities in Zimbabwe usually do not get the appreciation due to them. Many have died paupers and their history and records appear to be buried with them.

“What Zambia did shows that it’s a country that recognises its own. We have a tendency of idolising foreign icons like Pele, Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo and others yet we have our own.

“It creates a crisis of identity. If we cannot appreciate and celebrate our own, then who will. How do you expect a visitor from another country to respect your institutions when you don’t?

“It’s a mentality that can be changed if Government, sports administrators and local authorities come together. Many things are not being done correctly here because people have not appreciated football as a profession,” said Mutema.

Many countries do honour their sports heroes. Recently, Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu was presented with the key to the city as well as having a street named after her (Andreescu Way) by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie for winning the US Open this year.

Authorities can also do the same for swimming icon Kirsty Coventry, one of the most decorated Olympians from Africa, who won a record seven medals at three different Olympic Games and countless gold medals at several other major international events.

Renowned football enthusiast Chris “Romario” Musekiwa said the local authorities should borrow a leaf from their Zambian counterparts to inspire the young generations and help perpetuate the culture of excellency in the field.

Musekiwa said legacy should be preserved.

“We have so many sports heroes that we can celebrate. For example, Moses Chunga was the first player after Independence to play in Europe, Peter (Ndlovu) is probably the greatest of them all. Then there was Freddy Mkwesha who played in Portugal before Independence.

“But it’s not only football. We have international icons like Coventry who holds countless records, the Manyuchis and others.

“Artwell Mandaza was one of the fastest sprinters during his time but not many people know about this, especially the young generation. The future generations should know about these people. We have to do our best to preserve history.

“I also get worried every time I get to Rufaro and see the likes of Chunga and Sunday Chidzambwa being harassed at the gates.

‘‘These are the people who helped shape football what it is today and we should appreciate them whilst they are still alive,” said Musekiwa.

Bwalya holds a legendary status in Zambia having been 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 12th-best player in the world, the first to be nominated after playing the entire year for a non-European club.

On Monday, the Lusaka City Council said he was honoured “as a result of your exemplary CV both as a player and administrator in the football arena in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa and the world at large.”

The former Zamia captain was obviously thrilled by the gesture.

“I am absolutely blown away by this honour. I am so humbled to be recognised in this manner. Thank you so much to the Mayor of the City of Lusaka, Miles Sampa and his Council for bestowing me with this honour.

“I would be remiss if I did not mention the Zambian people that supported me throughout my career, from my Zambia Schools days to the KK eleven and Chipolopolo. It feels like yesterday that I was a ball boy at Mufulira Blackpool in the 70’s.

“Credit has to go to the many teammates and coaches that believed in me and afforded me the opportunity to play football and in so doing, follow my passion.

“Without all of these people this would not be possible.

‘‘I hope this serves as encouragement to the many footballers, sportsmen and women who will come after me, to work hard in pursuit of their dreams so that they too will be recognised for the service to Mother Zambia. I am truly grateful for this gesture,” said Bwalya.

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

THE move by Lusaka City Council to rename a road in Zambia after one of the country’s legendary football players — Kalusha Bwalya — has reignited debate over the lack of recognition for sports personalities in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans have, for a long time, had divided opinions over the attitude and treatment given to sports people during and after their careers.

The world over, sports heroes are getting recognition with street names, arenas and stadiums being named after them.

There are many such heroes in Zimbabwe, the likes of legendary footballers George “Mastermind” Shaya, Freddie Mukwesha (late), Peter Ndlovu, Moses “Bambo” Chunga and Bruce Grobbelaar, swimming icon Kirsty Coventry, the late sprint star Artwell Mandaza, karateka Samson Muripo and boxers Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago and Proud “Kilimanjaro” Chinembiri (both late).

There are also cricketers — Dave Houghton, Andy Flower and Andy Pycroft — and the “Golden Girls” of field hockey who won Zimbabwe its first gold medal at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow in the then Soviet Union (now Russia).

The list is endless and the culture has been to forget about these people and let their legacy die.

While Zimbabweans are still trapped in the bad tradition of only remembering people at their death, Lusaka City Council in neighbouring Zambia this week gazetted and renamed some roads among them, the Kalusha Bwalya Road, in honour of the former Chipolopolo captain.

Road signage inscribed with Bwalya’s name is set to be unveiled early next month, with the 56-year-old invited to be part of the fanfare.

Former Zimbabwe internationals Thomas Sweswe and 1996 Soccer Star of the Year Stewart “Shutto” Murisa yesterday said sometimes it’s not about the money, but the appreciation for the years that the stars spent wowing the fans and lifting the country’s flag high.

“I really don’t know the problem we have here in Zimbabwe. We only raise our heads high when someone has died and afterwards we again forget about everything he/she has done,” said Sweswe.

“Recognition is not only about money, but a way of saying thank you for what you did. The Zambians have named a road after Kalusha Bwalya and it’s a great thing, I tell you.

“I don’t know how it is done here, but I think we can learn one or two things from our neighbours. It’s very key to recognise people who have lifted the country’s flag high be it in football, athletics, boxing, karate or even in the arts industry.

“It’s about preserving the legacy of an individual and the sports industry in general. Most of these guys die with their legacy, but Kalusha’s name will live for a long time to come in Zambia and many young people will be inspired to do exactly the same as he did or even try to surpass him,” said Sweswe.

The City of Harare made a proposal at its council meeting in February this year to name the popular Vietnam Bay at Rufaro Stadium after the legendary Shaya, but no one knows what happened to the plans.

No ceremony was conducted to make the change official.

In fact, there has never been a real follow up to the idea.

The last that was heard from the Harare City Council was the promise to engage the Minister of Local Government, July Moyo, to approve the resolution which also intended to honour boxer Charles Manyuchi and the late musician Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo.

“The decisions are actually based on previous full council deliberations and, as such, I do not expect objections when we convene possibly next week between 21 and 23.

“On Manyuchi, it was a resolution by a full council meeting some time ago in 2017 and I am talking of the previous council. So here it is just a matter of implementation of an old resolution.

“So basically it is just a matter of tying up loose ends and presenting our position to the minister, from which we will get direction,” said Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba, then.

Former Soccer Star Murisa said they have tried to follow up the idea with the City Council but without success.

“What the Zambian authorities did is a very noble thing and it is always worthwhile to learn from the good things that others do. We don’t have to wait for a person to die and then say good things about him.

“People can also be honoured whilst they are alive. This year the Harare City Council announced they were naming one of the bays at Rufaro after George Shaya but up to now nothing has materialised.

“I am one of the people who have tried to do follow-ups with the authorities and it hasn’t been helpful. Time and again we have seen people in politics getting their due recognition.

“It’s good but what about the sportsmen and women? I would be happy to see a stadium or any other monument being named after Peter Ndlovu, George Shaya or Moses Chunga,” said Murisa.

Football coach Newsome Mutema, who is also Soccer Coaches’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, said Zimbabwe faces a crisis of some proportions because they like celebrating foreign stars and forgetting their domestic heroes.

Most of the sports personalities in Zimbabwe usually do not get the appreciation due to them. Many have died paupers and their history and records appear to be buried with them.

“What Zambia did shows that it’s a country that recognises its own. We have a tendency of idolising foreign icons like Pele, Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo and others yet we have our own.

“It creates a crisis of identity. If we cannot appreciate and celebrate our own, then who will. How do you expect a visitor from another country to respect your institutions when you don’t?

“It’s a mentality that can be changed if Government, sports administrators and local authorities come together. Many things are not being done correctly here because people have not appreciated football as a profession,” said Mutema.

Many countries do honour their sports heroes. Recently, Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu was presented with the key to the city as well as having a street named after her (Andreescu Way) by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie for winning the US Open this year.

Authorities can also do the same for swimming icon Kirsty Coventry, one of the most decorated Olympians from Africa, who won a record seven medals at three different Olympic Games and countless gold medals at several other major international events.

Renowned football enthusiast Chris “Romario” Musekiwa said the local authorities should borrow a leaf from their Zambian counterparts to inspire the young generations and help perpetuate the culture of excellency in the field.

Musekiwa said legacy should be preserved.

“We have so many sports heroes that we can celebrate. For example, Moses Chunga was the first player after Independence to play in Europe, Peter (Ndlovu) is probably the greatest of them all. Then there was Freddy Mkwesha who played in Portugal before Independence.

“But it’s not only football. We have international icons like Coventry who holds countless records, the Manyuchis and others.

“Artwell Mandaza was one of the fastest sprinters during his time but not many people know about this, especially the young generation. The future generations should know about these people. We have to do our best to preserve history.

“I also get worried every time I get to Rufaro and see the likes of Chunga and Sunday Chidzambwa being harassed at the gates.

‘‘These are the people who helped shape football what it is today and we should appreciate them whilst they are still alive,” said Musekiwa.

Bwalya holds a legendary status in Zambia having been 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 12th-best player in the world, the first to be nominated after playing the entire year for a non-European club.

On Monday, the Lusaka City Council said he was honoured “as a result of your exemplary CV both as a player and administrator in the football arena in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa and the world at large.”

The former Zamia captain was obviously thrilled by the gesture.

“I am absolutely blown away by this honour. I am so humbled to be recognised in this manner. Thank you so much to the Mayor of the City of Lusaka, Miles Sampa and his Council for bestowing me with this honour.

“I would be remiss if I did not mention the Zambian people that supported me throughout my career, from my Zambia Schools days to the KK eleven and Chipolopolo. It feels like yesterday that I was a ball boy at Mufulira Blackpool in the 70’s.

“Credit has to go to the many teammates and coaches that believed in me and afforded me the opportunity to play football and in so doing, follow my passion.

“Without all of these people this would not be possible.

‘‘I hope this serves as encouragement to the many footballers, sportsmen and women who will come after me, to work hard in pursuit of their dreams so that they too will be recognised for the service to Mother Zambia. I am truly grateful for this gesture,” said Bwalya.

Source :

The Herald

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