Zambia is a country that has proven time without number that it is capable of matching the much famed footballing nations like Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt jut to mention but a few.
The country’s footballers have not been spared of one thing by the football loving public and are criticism. The Zambian football loving public has been critical of the footballers it has produced on more especially their performance in national colours. However, one thing worth lamenting about is the country’s inability to nurture some of the gems of footballers the country has a produced in recent years.
Here are some of the footballers that have failed to much the potential they showed due to poor management skills.
1. Owen Mbewe.
Arguably the best Central midfielder the country has produced after the 1993 Gabon Air disaster. The Nkwazi midfielder was a joy to watch and his eye for a pass was second to none. The way Owen handled the ball had many yeaning to see the Zambian Muzungu in the big leagues in Europe. However, his career never really reached the standard that his potential showed. Disciplinary issues blighted his fledgling career. This can mainly be attributed to poor management of his talent.
2. Emmanuel Zulu.
The last golden talents of the previous millennium that is the Under 20 team of 1999 produced some of the country’s finest talents. The team comprised players like Ian Bakala, Perry Mutapa, Andrew Sinkala, Bennard Makufi to name but a few. The pick of the talents is the nimble-footed Emmanuel Zulu. He was blessed with a very good left foot and pace. He would bamboozle defenders with much easy. He was at one point linked with a move to Germany Giants Bayern Munich but the move never materialised. Poor management of his talent meant the boy earmarked to take Kalu’s place never took off.
3. Fwayo Tembo
The 2007 Under 20 team was much like their predecessors of 1999. They had everything in the team in terms of talent. The pick of the team were the two wingers in Clifford Mulenga and Fwayo Tembo. Fwayo Tembo is a genius on the ball and capable of producing magical moments when least expected. He has an eye for a goal, pass and precision. However, his career has been plagued by disciplinary issues. Once attended trials at Real Madrid though Poor management of his talent meant his has been a journeyman in club football. His career took him to Switzerland, Romania and Tunisia. His days’ at most local clubs were also blighted with disciplinary issues. There is no question about how much talent Fwayo possesses.
4. Clifford Mulenga
He was part of the 2007 Under 20 team and was the star of the team together with Fwayo Tembo. He won the 2007 CAF Young Player of the Year a feat only matched by Patson Daka in 2017. He was expelled from the 2012 Afcon tournament for allegedly disciplinary issues. He career never really reached the heights of the potential shown by the Young Clifford. He was blessed with a wizardly left foot and being nimble footed too. Though still active as a player at Forest Rangers his better footballing days are now past him.
5. Harry Milanzi
The young academy product of Lusaka City Council but matured more at Nchanga Rangers where he showed a lot of promise. He would bully defenders despite his young age. He was part of the golden generation at Nchanga Rangers which had the likes of Andrew Sinkala and Moses Sichone. His career was blighted by disciplinary issues and this great affected his performances on the pitch and never really reached the heights expected of him. The way Ivorian legend Didier Drogba bullied defenders at his peak in England was the same way a young Harry Milanzi bullied defenders too. Now involved in football as coach, hope he uses his experience to nurture some young and upcoming talents not to fall prey the same way his career never reached the greater heights expected of him.
6. Emmanuel Mbola
The youngest player at the 2010 Afcon in Angola produced performances remiscent of the legendary Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos. The Zambian football loving public quickly fell in love with this young talent. However, his management was not good enough and that led to him stay one full season without playing any football due to contractual issues his management team entered into with two different clubs at the same time. Just signed for Zambian giants Nkana though it is going to be difficult for him to recapture the form that made Herve Renard have so much confidence in him in 2010
A number of Zambian Football talents has not been fully utilised because of the poor management of the talent in the past. However, in recent times the country has seen the emergency of some local management teams with the view of representing the various football talents endowed around the country. The biggest let down in the recent past has been the management of the talents the country has produced. Therefore, the management teams should not exploit the footballers but promote their clients for the good of both the player’s career and the management team. The endeavour of these Management teams should be to ensure that the best Zambian Football Talent is readily available to compete with other best talents from different countries on the continent and the world at large.