Ignatius Lwipa, The Zambian Figo- A goal-scoring machine
When you talk of talent in Zambian Football, the nation has been blessed with a lot of talented players, the likes of Charles Musonda, Kalusha Bwalya, Godfrey Ucar Chitalu, Andrew Sinkala, Gibby ‘Biggie’ Mbasela just to mention a few.
While these are household names a few others don’t even get the recognition they deserve. One such unsung hero of Zambian football is Ignatius Lwipa.
The former Chipolopolo forward was born on 4th March 1986 in Kitwe, Copperbelt Province, Zambia.
Lwipa started his career with Young Power Dynamos before moving to Afri Sport were he played for a good four years.
Lwipa quickly made his name at Afri Sport with his goal-scoring prowess as he netted goals for fan Figo, as he is fondly called, was very influential in the teams’ progress from amateur league cruising through the stages to Super League. Lwipa netted 69 goals in that same period.
In his early days, he was renowned for his goal-scoring ability and his beautiful ball control which helped him become a key player in the Afri Sport Team.
His eye for goals caught the attention of National team coach Kalusha Bwalya who drafted him into his squad for the 2006 AFCON qualifiers and he made his debut on 1 October 2005 against Liberia a match to remember as he netted a brace helping Zambia to win 5-0, Nchimunya Mweetwa with a brace also while Numba Mumamba scored the other goal.
In 2005 he netted 16 goals for both country and club and only Adubelo Phiri scored more 28 but could not help Afri Sport survive relegation as they went back to Division One North after just one season in the Super League.
In 2006, A 20-year-old Lwipa joined Sensational Zanaco Football Club ending a four-year spell at Afri-Sport who were relegated back to Division One North the year before.
In his first season as a seasonal Zanaco player Lwipa registered 18 goals in all competitions in 30 games with Kalengo netting 28 while Numba scored 19.
Lwipa spent eight years at Sunset Stadium and went on to win 3 League titles (2006,2008 and 2012).
In 2014, He joined Aba Yellow, Power Dynamos where he spent two 2 years and only managed to score 12 goals. He went on to play for Mazabuka based side Nakambala Leopards before hanging his boots.
Zamfoot Crew caught up with the former National team striker who revealed the secret behind his career.
“Discipline, hard work, and determination played a vital role in my career. I made sure all goals I set for myself were defeated by my works. Whichever team I signed for I made sure scoring goals was my first priority before assisting,” Lwipa told the ZamFoot Crew in an exclusive interview.
Lwipa managed to play in 3 major derbies in the country, The Southern derby, Kopala derby, and the Lusaka derby and managed to score in two of the three derbies.
‘Figo’ played in the Super League for over 10 years. He shared some of his best moments with the ZamFoot Crew.
“My best moment in the League was in 2010 when Zanaco reached the CAF Confederation group Stage, during that period I played a lot of games and reaching that level of the Tournament was an eye-opener and I got exposed a lot,” he said.
“In National Colors, The 2009 CHAN tournament held in Ivory Coast was my best moment, at the tournament we managed to walk away with the bronze medal,” he added.
Certainly, Ignatius Lwipa had a brilliant career in the local league and those who watched him can agree that he was really a gifted striker with an eye for goal especially during his early days.
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