Saturday, March 25, 2023

Simon Kaushi – The Hero of Egypt 1974

Zambian football unearthed a gem in 1970 when Mufulira Blackpool signed on Simon ‘Kaodi’ Kaushi. He initially made his mark as a schoolboy player at Kantanshi Secondary School and it was from here that he was first spotted.


After spending one season in the reserve team he was elevated to become a regular in the Blackpool team of that era, playing alongside John Botha, Lee Mulenga, John Lengwe and Emmanuel Mukuka.

Hardly a year after making his debut in the senior team his goalscoring exploits caught the eye of Zambia’s Yugoslav coach, Ante Buselic, and he was drafted into the Zambia national team

His first appearance was in one of Zambia’s greatest ever wins at the Independence Stadium in Lusaka, a comprehensive 5-1 defeat of Nigeria’s national team, the Green Eagles. Such was the impact of Zambia’s defeat of Nigeria that they immediately disbanded their national team. 

After two successful seasons in the league Kaushi’s star rose and Buselic made the surprise decision to drop the highly rated Godfrey Chitalu from the starting lineup and went for Kaushi instead, an indication of the high regard in which he held him.

In 1974 Zambia qualified to the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt for the first time ever, and Kaushi wore the number nine shirt, playing alongside Bernard Chanda. In Zambia’s opening match against Cote d’Ivoire Kaushi scored the only goal of the match to give the team a 1-0 win in their first ever appearance at the tournament.

Zambia then faced a tough Uganda team and after a thrilling encounter emerged 1-0 victors after Kaushi set up Obby Kapita for the only goal of the match.

In the final group match against the host team, Egypt, Zambia were reduced to 10 men when Kaushi was sent off and they went on to lose 3-1. The loss was a blessing in disguise because it still saw Zambia through to the semi final where they faced Congo Brazzaville rather than Zaire who at the time were regarded the strongest team on the continent. In the semi final Zambia prevailed over Congo Brazzaville winning 4-2 courtesy of a hattrick by Bernard Chanda and another goal by right winger Joseph Mapulanga.

The final turned out to be one of the most thrilling in the history of the competition. Zambia took the lead through Kaushi. Ndaye leveled the score for Zaire. A minute from the end of the second half, Ndaye again struck to make the score 2-1 and it looked as if it was over. Deep in injury time Zambia’s left winger Brighton Sinyangwe dramatically equalized and seconds later the referee blew to signal the end of the match. It was the days before 

penalty shootouts so the teams met again three days later to replay the final. 

The second match was decisively won by Zaire with two goals by Ndaye Mulamba, taking his tally in the competition to nine, a record that still stands today. Kaushi was substituted by Buselic after only ten minutes for reasons which even today he fails to fathom. 

He went on to play for Zambia for another two years but was dropped after Colonel Brightwell Banda took over as national coach in 1977. He continued to play for Blackpool then went on to join Kitwe United as a player/coach. He later coached in Botswana before returning home.

He currently runs a youth academy in Kitwe.

PS: ( _Kaushi – Last player standing, extreme right)_

By Ponga Liwewe 

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