Blog: Chamanga, the unsung Zambian great
Zambian legend and 2012 AFCON winning striker James ‘Chama Boy’ Chamanga.
After a successful playing career in China, Djemba as he was affectionately known in the Chipolopolo set up is now the Liaoning FC Technical Director in China.
Trivial: Did you know that the former National Assembly, Bush Backs, Moroka Swallows and Supersport Striker together with Christopher Katongo are the only two Zambian players to have scored at FOUR consecutive African Cup of Nations (2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012)
Actually Chamanga was Zambia’s main/first choice striker at three major tournaments.
In Egypt 2006 African Cup of Nations, Chamanga was a shock starter as then coach Kalusha Bwalya opted for the partnership of little known striker with Collins Mbesuma over the veteran Harry Milanzi.
The 38 year old scored in Zambia’s 4-1 defeat to Tunisia.
It was also at the same tournament that Chris Katongo registered his maiden AFCON goal in the dead rubber game against South Africa.
Two years later, Patrick Phiri left out an unfit Mbesuma at the Ghana 2008 African Cup of Nations, and again it was Chamanga who led the line.
Despite the Katongo brothers; Felix and Chris taking the group stage by storm, the humble Chamanga continued with his run and scored in the 3-0 win over Sudan.
Felix Katongo and Jacob Mulenga were the other goal scorers.
Chris Katongo emerged as Zambia’s top scorer with two goals. He scored in the 5-1 defeat to Cameroon and 1-1 draw against Egypt.
Spotted by Peter Kaumba at Zambia Under-23, fast tracked by Kalusha Bwalya to the Chipolopolo set up, with two AFCON experience, the boys went to the Angola 2010 with belief.
With Herve Renard now in charge, Chamanga and Jacob Mulenga finally forming a twin tower partnership, Zambia flourished at the tournament by reaching the quarter finals.
Jacob was Zambia’s top scorer with two goals while as usual Chamanga and Chris Katongo registered a goal each.
That’s three and four AFCON goals for Chamanga and Chris Katongo respectively.
Having started 10 African Cup of Nations games prior to the 2012 edition, Renard surprised many when he went for the partnership of Emmanuel Mayuka and Chris Katongo in Equatorial Guinea as Chamanga was relegated to the bench.
With Mayuka registering two goals each in the group stage and forming a devasting partnership with Chris Katongo, it became difficult to hand Chamanga game time and to be content with a place on the bench.
In the quarter finals, Renard summoned the veteran striker off the bench and Chambga delivered with a goal in another 3-0 bashing of Sudan.
He kept his place in the starting line up in the semi finals against Ghana but Mayuka came off the bench to score and lead Zambia to her first final since 1994.
Though Chamanga didn’t feature in the final triumph over Ivory Coast, he returned home with an AFCON Trophy.
Four goals in 12 African Cup of Nations appearances, having started 11 of those.
Chris Katongo has 7 goals AFCON in 19 appearances.
In the last decade, Chamanga has more AFCON goals than Collins Mbesuma, Jacob Mulenga and Emmanuel Mayuka.
He deserves his place in the Zambian Hall of Fame.
He is truly Zambian great, a legend!
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