The football genius and trickster Alex ‘Computer’ Chola
Zimbabwean writer James Chikonamombe described Alex “Computer” Chola as “the best of them all, his wing-play was just out of this world: dummies, flicks, darts-up-the-middle, confusing dribbles, quick and neat touches. He continued, “Had he played in the modern era, I’m sure he would have been playing for Madrid’s and Barcelona’s of this world. That’s how good he was.”
Alex Chola was born on the 6th June 1956 in Lubumbashi, DR Congo where his father went to work and he played for local club Solbena F.C before returning to Ndola as a teenager. After a brief stay in Ndola, he left for Mufulira and signed with Division II side Mufulira Blackpool in 1974.
Chola’s exceptional skills were evident from an early age, his footwork, ball juggling skills and precise passes unsurprisginly led to the nicknames ‘Computer’ and ‘Master Dribbler.’ He inspired a young Kalusha Bwalya who later remarked that Chola “could do incredible things with the ball. It’s a pity there was no video at the time.”
In 1975, Blackpool won promotion to the Zambian top league and Chola’s rise to stardom gained momentum, he made the statement so clear when he ended the defending league champions Green Buffaloes long unbeaten run with a clinical finish at Blackpool’s home ground Kamuchanga Stadium in Mufulira. In the same year, Chola was named the new skipper at the age of 19.
In 1976, Blackpool won a hard-fought 4-3
Independence Cup final win over town-mates Butondo Western Tigers at Dag Hammarskjöld Stadium in Ndola, with Chola creating two goals and scoring the winner. It was Blackpool’s second and last trophy following their Chibuku Cup win of 1972.
Despite a mid-table finish, Chola finished the season as Blackpool’s top scorer with 20 goals and was named Zambia’s Footballer of the year.
In 1978, Blackpool made a strong start going unbeaten in the first 8 games of the season and topping the table. They were still leading with 4 games to, go, however were pipped to the title by Wanderers, who finished on top by a single point, when Blackpool lost all three cases which were before the Football Association of Zambia.
In December 1979, Chola and his family vanished from Mufulira and were reporteKitwe, in Kitwe , a move which upset Blackpool officials who felt betrayed and did not know which club had snagged their star as so many clubs him.after him .
He joined Power Dynamos and made an instant impression, scoring twice on his debut in the Champion of Champions Cup semi-final on 3 February 1980 in a 2-0 win against Green Buffaloes. A week later, he scored the third goal in the final, a 3-0 triumph over Mufulira Wanderers in Ndola. He collected more silverware later that year when Dynamos beat Buffaloes 2-0 to win the Independence Cup and ended the season as the club’s top scorer.
In 1982, they won the Independence Cup for the third time in 4 years, but the league eluded them as they ended the season as runners-up to Kitwe rivals Nkana Red Devils.
In 1984, At the end of the season, Chola called time on his glorious career to focus on coaching. After a full season at Po,wer Dynamos Alex Chola impressed and was rewarded with the Coach of the Year award for the 1992 season.
The football genius was among the players who died in Gabon on the eve of 27 April 1993 as they were traveWorldfor a world Cup qualifier match. Alex Computer who was assistant coach died crashplane clash in Gabon.
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