King Kalu – a quick look at a man with legendary status
A snap shot of the Kalusha Bwalya’s career
He was born on 16th August 1963 in Mufulira when Zambia was still called Northern Rhodesia. He is ranked third on the list of all-time Zambian goalscorers behind Alex Chola and Godfrey Chitalu. He won the African footballer of the year in 1988 at a time he was playing for Cercle Brugge, a Belgian top-flight club.
He won the top scorers gong at the 1996 Africa cup of nations with five goals which were hosted by South Africa, a tournament in which Zambia finished third after beating Ghana one-nil courtesy of Joel Bwalya. The man is Kalusha Bwalya
He played for Mufulira Blackpool before moving to Mufulira Wanderers where he spent five stints from 1980-1985 where he won the Zambian challenge cup. He later joined Cercle Brugge of Belgium before moving to a local rival PSV Eindhoven where he made a mark by helping the club win the 1990-91 and 1991-92 league with the other two cups KNVB cup and Dutch super cup.
He also played for other seven clubs before permanently retiring from playing active football.
He featured for the senior national team 87 times with a goal haul of 39. His debut game was an Africa cup of nations match at Dag Hammarskjold in Ndola against Sudan a game which ended in a barren draw. His first goal for the Zambia national team came during the CECAFA tournament which was held in Uganda and was won by Zambia, the goal came on 7th December 1984 when the KK11 drew 1-1 with the host Uganda. He has represented the nation on six editions of the Africa cup of nations.
He was a member of the national team squad that participated at the 1988 Seoul Olympic games where he produced a memorable stellar moment scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 mauling of Italy where Zambia finished fifth.
Despite being the captain of the senior national team during the 1994 world cup qualifiers, Kalusha Bwalya was not part of the tragic plane crash on the coast of Gabon which claimed the lives of the entire team which was traveling to Senegal for the match. The reason for him not being part of the contingent was that his schedule had him fly from his club base which is PSV Eindhoven of Netherlands direct to Senegal.
After the tragic plane crash, he took the mantle of spearheading the revival of the national team at the 1994 Africa cup of nations with the armband in Tunisia, a tournament in which Zambia went all the way to the finals where they lost to the super eagles of Nigeria. It was a team that played as a unit, tough and tenacious as the team the nation had lost. In the final against highly rated Nigeria, Zambia drew first blood from the opponent’s nose in the third minute when the big defender Elijah Litana connected with his corner. The Super Eagles immediately responded with a goal from another corner from Emmanuel Amunike,and the winger added a second just after halftime. From there, it was agonizing. Kalusha Bwalya hit a post before two further chances for Zambia were scrambled off the goal line. This happened when Zambia was under the tutelage of Ian Porterfield.
His last fond memory came at independence stadium during the 2006 world cup qualifier a game in which Zambia was up against Liberia. The game was tied at 0-0 before Kalusha then 41 came from the bench to score the only goal of the match to send the crowd into a frenzy,he scored from the trademark direct freekick near the center circle.
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