FORMER Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) general secretary, Paul Simukoko has charged that FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya’s sentiments that no local coach is qualified enough to drill the senior national team are misleading.
And Simukoko also questioned the rationale behind FAZ’s appointments of Chintu Kampamba and Joel Bwalya to take up national teams roles at the expense of more experienced Zambian coaches.
Simukoko said it was surprising that Kalusha, who was groomed by local coaches, could now claim Zambian trainers still needed to gain more knowledge before they could qualify for the Chipolopolo top job.
He said in an interview that when Kalusha shot to stardom at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, it was the same Zambian coaches in late Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu and Fred Mwila who were shaping him up.
“The late Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu groomed Kalusha and he made his name at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. I was really surprised that such sentiments (Zambia has no qualified coach) came from Kalusha especially that himself was groomed by local coaches,” he said.
The former FAZ chief executive said in the past local coaches proved that they were capable of performing as evidenced by winning regional tournaments and also qualifying to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup finals.
Simukoko also expressed shock that a seasoned trainer like Red Arrows coach, George Lwandamina could support Kalusha’s stance.
“I was also surprised that Lwandamina, a senior coach, could also support Kalusha’s sentiments. They seem to have an inferior complex,” he said.
Simukoko said local coaches were capable of performing even better than expartriates as Nigeria’s Stephen Keshi and Kwesi Appiah of Ghana proved by qualifying their respective countries to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
He, however, said for local coaches to succeed, they needed the same kind of support and resources like what was given to foreign trainers.
The former FAZ general secretary said even when the Chipolopolo won the historic 2012 AFCON title, Frenchman Herve Renard was not an outstanding coach but that fate just favoured Zambia.
Simukoko said after quitting the Zambian job last year, Renard trekked back to France where he was struggling at Sochaux.
Kalusha, recently, said no Zambian coach was qualified to take charge of the Chipolopolo and instead advised the locals to attain the CAF ‘A’ Licence certificate for them to be eligible for the top job.
On the appointments of Kampamba and Bwalya, Simukoko wondered whether such decisions were done on merit and also questioned if the duo were holders of CAF ‘B’ Coaching Licences.
“Are Chintu Kampamba and Joel Bwalya members of the ZAFCA (Zambia Football Coaches Association)? Do Chintu and Joel have ‘B’ Licence certificates? How did these two get these top jobs? Are they now qualified to coach national teams and what past experiences do they have? We would like FAZ to do the right thing,” he said.
Simukoko said giving Kampamba a top job as assistant Chipolopolo trainer raised a lot of concern as he was merely a player-coach for clubside, Kabwe Warriors.
He said he does not think Kampamba was eligible for the senior national team portfolio than other seasoned local trainers.
“What is so special about Chintu? I don’t think Chintu with due respect is more eligible than other senior local coaches. If for any reason, Patrice Beaumelle is an unvailable for an assignment then Chintu should take charge? What can Chintu tell national team players like Joseph Musonda, Stoppila Sunzu or Rainford Kalaba when himself was a just fringe player in the squad,” Simukoko queried.
With his appointment, Simukoko said Kampamba was now senior to Under-23 coach Fighton Simukonda and Lwandamina, the Under-20 tactician.
“Football is a practical game, even Kalusha despite being a qualified coach, failed at the national team level,” Simukoko added.
FAZ appointed Kampamba as assistant to Beaumelle for the Chipolopolo while Joel Bwalya was named one of the assistants to Chris Kaunda at the national Under-17 squad.