Friday, June 21, 2024

Nsabata v Kalumba: The rise of Charles Kalumba in his quest to claim the Chipolopolo no.1 slot

Zambia play Congo Brazaville on Friday in Antalya, Turkey with kickoff at 3pm.

One intriguing decision Zambia coach Aljosa Asanovic will come up with at the team’s briefing at 11 am will be in the goalkeeping department.

Following the halting of project Cyril Mwenya Chibwe as Kennedy Mweene’s replacement, Zambia is back again looking for a first choice goalkeeper.

Since 2015, Zambia has been in dire need of an international goalkeeper but to no avail.

The situation is much better now and little bit patience might yield atleast three goalkeepers.

Konkola Blades’ Willard Mwanza and Patrick Chooma of Prison Leopards could be possible understudies at the national team.

The third goalkeeper is Charles Kalumba, Prison Leopards’ goalkeeper, currently on at Red Arrows.

The story of Kalumba’s rise is fascinating.

The 25 year old was spotted and earmarked by then Chipolopolo coach Micho as a possible first choice goalkeeper at the Cameroon 2020 CHAN tournament.

Kalumba made costly mistakes in the pre-tournaments warm matches against Cameroon and Guinea and that infuriated Micho.

Nsabata is likely to start one of the games. He is currently Zambia’s first choice goalkeeper

The Serbian coach wanted Kalumba on the first flight home from Doula, but his assistant Osward Mutapa Jnr stepped in to stop that irrational decision.

“Mutapa and the team manager thought had the boy being sent home, his could have lost his confidence,” a Chipolopolo insider, who was part of the CHAN team revealed to the ZamFoot Crew.

Instead Nchanga Rangers’ goalkeeper Richard Nyirenda took one for the brother as he was sent home.

And veteran goalkeeper Allan Chibwe was flown from Lusaka to Yaounde, and while the fans feared for the inevitable, he actually went on to have a good tournament.

After Zambia’s elimination at CHAN, it was back to the famous drawing board for the team.

Kaumba’s confidence dropped until one afternoon at Lusaka’s Woodlands Stadium.

Having watched him closely during a league game, a football scout was impressed with his height.

When the scout approached Kalumba, he sounded apologetic and humble as he tried to explain about what transpired in Cameroon.

By the end of the day, Kalumba was promised a move to either Zanaco or Red Arrows in the next transfer window.

With whispers that Zanaco had already agreed to sign Lameck Siame from Kabwe Warriors as a free agent, the move to Sunset was off.

Came the transfer window, Red Arrows’ goalkeeping Kalililo Kakonje signaled the move but it wasn’t as straight foward as one would wish.

At some point, Lusaka Dynamos were with their supposedly money bags were in the forefront to snatch him until Arrows officials went did a coup in the military.

As the season progressed the Ndola native who spent five years at Prison, gained his confidence, subsequently back in the national team.

Winning his third cap against Iraq, the 25 year old impressed as he saved Zambia from a tennis scoreline in Baghdad.

Ahead of the friendly matches against Congo and Benin, Toaster Nsabata stands in the way of Kalumba.

Nsabata has had a rollercoaster international duty since he made his debut in 2014 in the 4-3 defeat to Japan in the USA.

Having moved to South Africa, Nsabata seems has also regained his confidence he showed 8 years ago in Maamba and Chingola on the books of Nchanga Rangers.

For Asanovic, should he stick with project Kalumba or try to share games?

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