STARS OF YESTER YEAR with BENEDICT TEMBO
HE shuttles between Kapiri Mposhi and Lusaka to earn a living.
In Kapiri Mposhi, he runs a small holding at a resettlement scheme in Kashitu, about 2 kilometres off the Great North Road.
In the capital city, Kampela Katumba, the former Green Buffaloes and national team centre-back owns Chikatum Enterprises, a joint venture he runs with his wife.
Katumba, a retired soldier, is still passionate about soccer and is involved in coaching a youth team in Kabangwe.
But he still has his attention turned to Buffaloes and the national team as he follows the performance of the two sides religiously.
Katumba was born in Chief Matanda in Mansa on November 13, 1952.
His parents Julius Kimpinde Katumba (father) and Fan Kamengwa (mother) were farmers in Mansa.
He was born in a family of five – two boys and three girls.
Katumba did part of his education at Mansa Primary School, then his aunt Lisa Mumba who lived in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, took him along aged nine years.
He continued his primary education at St. Andre in Lubumbashi but went to Kilwa Island for his secondary school.
Katumba started his soccer career with Congolese giants TP Mazembe’s junior team.
Later, Lubumbashi Sports got him.
He later rejoined TP Mazembe when his play had improved.
The Zambia Army got wind of Katumba’s exploits in Lubumbashi and sent emissaries to verify the reports.
When army commander then Major-General Kingsley Chinkuli was pleased with the reports by his emissaries, he asked the Zambian consulate in Lubumbashi to secure Katumba’s release from the Congolese giants in 1972.
The Zambian consulate in Lubumbashi obliged to Gen. Chinkuli’s ‘orders’ and processed the paperwork, which facilitated Katumba’s exit from Mazembe and Congo.
“The army sent for me when they heard about a Zambian in Lubumbashi during Gen. Chinkuli’s time,” Katumba said.
He only started playing in 1973 when Buffaloes, then as Zambia Army Football Club, were being coached by Brightwell Banda.
When he arrived at Independence Stadium in Lusaka, Buffaloes’ base, he found a star-studded cast of Obby Kapita, Jani Simulambo, Felix Chalwe, Lonesome Katiwa, Edward Chintu, Joseph Chintu, Robert Lutoba, Milton Muke, Francis ‘Kempes’ Kajiya, Peter Tembo, Geojago Musengule and Dick Chama.
He played for Zambia Army (later Green Buffaloes) during the club’s glorious era when the soldiers employed what they called a ‘total formation’ which saw them outrun virtually all opposition.
It was during Katumba’s era when Buffaloes won their first league championship with an unbeaten run in 1974.
Buffaloes grabbed the title with 19 wins and seven draws.
They defended the title militarily in 1975. They unconcousily gave it away in 1976 but reclaimed it again.
In 1978, it was taken away from them but Katumba’s generation hardly gave up the chase and got it back in 1979.
Katumba retired on a glorious note by winning the 1981 championship, the last time the army club tasted league glory.
Katumba also won the Shell Challenge Cup with Buffaloes four times in 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981.
At the helm of a tough defence, which was impenetrable, Katumba won the 1978 Heroes and Unity Cup.
He however admits that he had a tough time dealing with Moses ‘Chairman’ Simwala, Godfrey Chitalu and Alex ‘Computer’ Chola, some of the finest attackers to have plied in the Zambian league.
He was voted footballer-of-the-year in 1975.
Two years later, Katumbi’s defensive skills were rewarded when coach Ante Buselic called him to the national team to fill the void, which had been created by Ackim Musenge’s injury.
His first game was against Malawi.
The long-legged centre-back went on to play for the KK11 for six unbroken years.
Apart from the Confederation of East and Central Senior Challenge Cup tournaments, he played at the 1978 Africa Cup finals in Ghana and the Moscow Olympics in Russia in 1980.
At the Moscow Olympics, Zambia were eliminated in the early stages despite performing exceptionally.
The KK11 lost 1-0 to Cuba, 3-1 to Soviet Union and 2-1 to Venezuela.
On July 24, 1980 against soccer powerhouse Russia at the Leningrad Stadium, many goals were expected against underdogs Zambia but the lanky Katumba held fort.
Zambia scored first through Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu. However, with four minutes left, Katumba who had played so well during the other matches, scored an own goal.
As a sweeper, Katumba played like a patriot missile behind the three defenders Milton Muke, Moffat Mutambo and Kaiser Kalambo.
His role in the 4-4-2 formation Zambia deployed throughout the tournament was mopping up lapses in defence.
His cool but uncompromising defence earned Katumba the man-of-the-match award.
Katumba retired from active soccer in 1981 after an illness – fluid collection in the lung.
When he had recovered, he joined City of Lusaka where he played for a season before retiring into coaching.
His first stint as coach was deputising a German coach City chairman Panji Kaunda had hired from Weder Bremen.
Later, the Zambia Army seconded Katumba to Monze Swallows for two seasons.
He was recalled and attached to City to deputise the German yet again.
During his second spell at Woodlands Stadium, he coached players such as Peter Makembo, Keagan Mumba and Desmond M’gawa.
Katumba, who was a driver under the transport directorate in the army, retired as staff sergeant in 1993.
He formed a company Chikatum Enterprises and General Dealers which deals in welding and other issues.
He also acquired a piece of land in Kapiri Mposhi under the resettlement scheme.
Katumba is grateful to Zambia Football Coaches Association president Patrick Kangwa, Gen. Chinkuli, Former Electoral Commissions of Zambia director Dan Kalale, one-time Lusaka district commissioner Elijah Chisanga and immediate past Malole member of parliament Emmanuel Munaile who helped him set up his farm in Kapiri Mposhi.
As a result of settling in at his farm, Katumba has not had an opportunity to watch his darling team, Buffaloes.
When he has airtel network during weekends, he is still eager to know how his team performed.
He also remotely follows the Chipolopolo and is happy that after years of pursuing the African title, Christopher Katongo and team won it last year in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
“I wish to congratulate the national team, we fought for the Africa Cup – that is what we wanted. We laid the foundation, they have done a commendable job,” Katumba, who also commended club officials for their dedication to producing good players, said.
He said:”Lesa wamulinganya (he is a God of fairness) emo twapita mwafula mpaka abanensu bafwilamo . Aya tupela cup kulya kwine (We have been through thick and thin, our friends even died during the course of duty and gave us the cup there (Gabon),” Katumba said referring to the national team which died in the Gabon air disaster in 1993.
Katumba was in Lusaka when the Chipolopolo played the 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Sudan praised the standards under Herve Renard.
“I want to encourage them, we will beat Ghana in Kumasi, they [Ghana]will be big headed and will make mistakes,” Katumba said.
He paid tribute to Sports minister Chishimba Kambwili for arranging prayers for the national team.
Katumba is married to Monica Chishimba with whom he has three children.
Kampela jnr. is a farmer at Fifteen miles, Lisa Mumba Katumba is doing Grade 11 while Peter plays for a youth team in Chipata township.
When in Lusaka, Katumba coaches a youth team in Kabanana.
FAZ contributed 10 footballs in 1999 to the Kabanana academy.
He intends to start coaching in Kapiri Mposhi and is hoping well wishers could kick-start his intention of forming an academy in the farming block to start a youth team.
Katumba is also available for consultancy in case football teams there would be interested in his services on part-time.
STARS OF YESTER YEAR with BENEDICT TEMBO