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Blog: Kalaba should show character on and off the pitch

Chipolopolo captain Rainford Kalaba came out of his shell and showed leadership on the pitch as he led from the front in the game against Tunisia.

The skipper showed his worth as he pulled the strings for the team showing creativity in attack, tracking back when needed and he looked inspirational on the field of play.

He was menacing going forward and provided the assist for Mayuka’s goal. He was deservedly man of the match.

With this only being his second competitive game after being handed the arm-band by towering defender Stopilla Sunzu, one may want to forgive the captain and overlook the incidences that happened post match.

However, it would be difficulty to let some of the post-match incidences pass without mention as we would be doing an injustice to football discourse.

1. Throwing away the captain’s armband

After the final whistle, Kalaba rushed off the pitch looking infuriated, maybe as expected considering the foregoing. But he did something unacceptable when he took off the armband and threw it to the ground in front of the cameras in what seemed to be an emotional show of disgust.

Kalaba should now learn to control his emotions not only on the pitch but off the pitch as well considering he is the leader in the team. On the pitch he showed the grit befitting a captain as he continued fighting up-to the very end but he cannot be throwing tantrums to the extent of throwing away the symbol of his leadership especially at a time when his team mates need him more.

One can only imagine how distraught the younger players like Lubambo Musonda, Spencer Sautu and Patrick Ngoma were as they they tried to fathom the paradox of football were the best team on the day can lose a match, but to see your leader acting up like that instead of him being the last to leave the pitch to comfort those licking their wounds and bleeding after the brutal loss could have been more confusing and adding salt to their emotional injury.

Our captain should be helped to learn how to deal with his frustrations as he is expected to be the senior lad the rest of the team should run to especially in times as tough as the team is going through now.

2.Taking a jibe at his team during the press meeting

In the post-match interview, Kalaba failed to show leadership when he went straight to attack his team mates for the loss as he seemed not to want to shoulder any bit of it.

Below are Kalaba’s remarks;

Today, the mentality was good compared to the first game. I don’t know what came into the mind of my colleagues after we scored. I was shocked to see the way they played. That was not the Zambia I know – R Kalaba

It is unacceptable for Kalaba as the leader of the team to put the blame on his team when his an integral member of the team and he completed the game. Even if he was clearly the best player on the pitch, his remarks were unwarranted and he will need to learn how to offer support to his team mates even by the choice of words he picks especially when talking to the media.

Kalaba presented a divided front by his remarks. Behind the doors, he can give his colleagues a ‘hairdryer treatment’ or vent through his coach but to take dig at his team mates in front of the world may not be the best course.

If he could pick a leaf from Bafana Bafana captain Dean Furman who did not shade a single shadow a blame on Tokelo Rantie after his penalty miss which was considered the turning point in South Africa’s loss to Algeria. Furman was careful with his words despite Rantie receiving wide condemnation for even stepping up to take the penalty. This is what Furman who also only assumed the captaincy recently said;

We won the penalty and TK (Tokelo Rantie) picked up ball … he is the striker and he went for the corner, but hit the crossbar. When the next penalty comes along – he is a confident player – and I’m sure he will put his hand up and take it. – D Furman

As the idiom goes; The captain goes down with the shipKalaba should learn to take full responsibility for the teams action and not stand on a pedestal as the star who criticizes the team.

In 2008, after a World Cup qualifier which didn’t go well, Chris Katongo stormed off the pitch just when the brass band was starting to play the national anthem to signal the end of proceedings leaving all the other players on the pitch….. He seemed to have learnt from that and I hope our fantastic captain will pick from this to mould his character on and off the pitch as he wears the armband on behalf of mother Zambia.

A little guidance and counsel from the technical bench will also help.

In all, his faltering off the pitch should not in anyway take away his diligent contribution on the day.

Photo courtesy of Kickoff

[Chimuka Hampango]

22 Comments to Blog: Kalaba should show character on and off the pitch

  1. zuberi says:

    The problem is people who select the captain, all leadership qualities must
    be considered before field performance.


    what language is he comfortable with.

  3. Andrew from Nigeria. says:

    Kalaba was immense yesterday and he played beautifully. I didn’t see when he threw the armband but I understand his pain. It was so heartbreaking for me watching Zambia lose after such a great display, so I can only imagine what the players themselves feel.
    I pray the Black Stars of Africa do not disappoint today. Those north Africans must be sent home. Avram Grant should just revert to Kwesi Appiah’s 4-4-2 because it’s evident the Ghanaian players are not used to his 3-5-2 and this is not the time to experiment.

    • Judge Joe Bidden says:

      I saw him throw the band just when he was about to enter the dig-out, and one “journalist” i guess wanted to chat to him but he just passed he was genuinely upset just like any Zambian would be – Being a captain doesnt mean you need to be a sweet, lovey dovey person. Do you see Mweene smiling on the pitch!? Some players just need to grow up and take national responsibilities seriously.

  4. Ngake says:

    The players conditioning to me seems substandard and this could be playing a part in the injuries we are getting. The team played well for most of the game, were compact in midfield and made Tunisia look very ordinary. However in the last 12-15 minutes most of the players were completely exhausted. Sunzu in particular was running like a pregnant woman in the last ten minutes it was embarrassing to see.

  5. john says:

    Kalaba should relax and rally the boys if zambia beats cape verde by any margin they progress. Tunisia will not allow drc to beat them and will fight for at least a draw.

  6. Billy says:

    Lets hope the boys will regroup and focus on the Cape Verde game. Any news on the condition of Mayuka.

  7. Judge Joe Bidden says:

    “Today, the mentality was good compared to the first game. I don’t know what came into the mind of my colleagues after we scored. I was shocked to see the way they played. That was not the Zambia I know – R Kalaba”

    Yes Kalaba has the right to castigate his colleagues – I agree with him 100% How can you justify Mayuka missing like that after Kalaba was doing all the donkey work to earn him Man of the Match? If something is wrong bring it out, you wanted Kalaba to come out of the match smiling and ululating at his colleagues? Rubbish.

  8. Mario says:

    I totally understand his frustrations. Example on the last goal why were the defenders just ball watching? The team doesn’t look fit. Maybe they miss our physical trainer 😛

    • Judge Joe Bidden says:

      There were 2 Tunisians at the far post unopposed one of them effortlessly nudged the ball in, and if Kalaba as captain gets furious and complain we call him names and “unCaptainship”. Zambia just duplicated exactly what Bafana Bafana behaved after scoring their lone goal. Lets not celebrate ‘how nice they played’ but castigate how many chances were lost.

    • Matafwali says:

      Let us not also forget that the second goal resulted from Tunisia dispossessing Kalaba. He could have done better tracking back and clearly our midfielders and right fullback were all out of position which forced Sunzu to be pulled out or position all the way to the right.

  9. Gesh says:

    I beg to differ with this article on so many things! Ever heard of a certain Roy Keane?? Kalaba was just simply speaking the truth as captain,being a good leader doesn’t mean you sugarcoat stuff! He has every right to chew into his teammates! He needed their help,he could not have done it all on his own! As for the armband-thats nothing really,had he thrown his shirt instead,I would be inclined to agree with the article. Frankly,I prefer a captain with a fire in his belly and shows it instead of playing to the gallery and being ‘Mr Nice’ to the media. The way we lost that game is totally unacceptable-PERIOD!!

  10. Man-IFU says:

    Kalaba’s behavior is normal coz the coach seems a bit timid so its better someone frankly confronts these guys especially the back line… they really went to sleep after Tunisia scored. Kalaba is has the right to be angry because he really put in his best yesterday but all in vain…I SALUTE HIM

  11. Discipline says:

    Southern Africa mentality both Bafana and Chipolopolo make sure you kill off the game completely.I remember Shaka used to say that make sure you kill the enemy or he will rise and very strongly,come and finish you off. That is why now the captain has even abandoned the ship which I also seriously feel was wrong of him to say because football you win and lose together,it a team sport.

  12. chamz says:

    Coach also. Yuka, it took 10 minutes to replace him, why not change soon? They scored while, we where one man down. Tunisia was bringing in attacking players while our coach was doing nothing.

    Second goal Sunzu should have stopped the cross. First goal was a mistake our player headed goal wards

  13. Logic says:

    I don’t blame Kalaba at all for his reaction. We always switch off every time we score and this has to come to an end. The player is showing a hunger to win and the rest of the team need to show the same hunger that the captain has. We had this result, and if everybody steps up and plays the way Kalaba dib, we would be smiling now. There is nothing wrong with the captain showing emotion and calling out his team mates for not doing their job. No one wants to be embarrassed and the words the Kalaba used were neither hurtful not disparaging to any on individual but simply pointed to what we all saw on the pitch. This need for political correctness is what allows as to gloss over what the real issue is instead of addressing it.

  14. Cliff bruce lee says:

    I agree with u pipo.but its also good to patient. Ba mupa well done.but pls mwilaumfwa icipyu.we r still behind u.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Like i said yesterday; Gyaaaaaaan

  16. citizenmike says:

    Like i said yesterday; Gyaaaaaaan

  17. Why Cant he shoot from There! says:

    Guys lets not focus on how the wine seeps out of the wine skins but focus on the holes in the wine skins namely Janza and Kalu! Kalu has added two technical assistants which in itself is an admission that Janza isnt up to it! Patrice left and confessed, as we all knew except kalu, that he isnt ready to coach a national team. The problem is Kalu; the team that played Brazil would have won this Afcon with Ivory Coast being off the boil, Cameroon young and raw, Ghana not ticking yet as a team, Tunisia weak…… This shud have been our cup and it wud have elevated C Katongo beyond kalu! But kalu……..

  18. leo says:

    Kalaba has the right to speak those words
    Haven’t you seen that mweene as well makes the defense uneasy he doesn’t encourage them he shouts at them
    Probably so that every one can see that he is the rightrightful captain to me that’s throwing tantrums indirect
    Sunzu was well was not in the game the winner goal was scored from the central defense where he operates…..otherwise the team performed beyond my expectations
    Lastly mbola has become too complacent we need to start finding somebody to challenge him not make shift Roderic kabwe as well as the right back

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