Francis ‘Kempes’ Kajiya, put to rest

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HUNDREDS of mourners, among them past and present football players and administrators, yesterday witnessed the burial of Zambia’s former midfielder, Francis Kajiya who was put to rest at Leopards Hill Memorial Park in Lusaka yesterday.
And Collins Mbesuma has said he is going to be greatly affected by the death of his father, Kajiya.
Mbesuma revealed that Kajiya was a catalyst in helping change his lifestyle, saying: “this death is really going to affect me because it has come at a time when I was just beginning to bond with my biological father.”
Kajiya, 59, a former national soccer team and Green Buffaloes midfielder, died on Wednesday at his Kanyama Township home. He leaves behind a wife and 11 children.
Mbesuma, who follows in his father’s footsteps as a footballer with South African Premiership side Orlando Pirates, said Kajiya gave him words of wisdom and advised him on how to become a better person.
“He sat me down one day. He told me he had done all that I was doing and the only thing that came out of that was not admirable. He told me not to follow the same path, but to be a better person.
“That is how come I changed and I was just getting to bond with him in father-to-son relationship and then he died. It is painful and I’ll miss him,” a tearful Mbesuma said.
Mbesuma, a Zambia national soccer team and Pirates striker, said he would work hard at making sure he leaves an even bigger impression than his father did on Zambian football.
“Although I never watched him play, I believe he was great because of the things people have told me. Even people in South Africa talk about him highly,” he said.
He had earlier led his brothers and sisters in laying wreaths on the grave of Kajiya who remains one of Zambia’s most exciting wingers in local soccer history, together with the likes of Peter Kaumba.
His former captain both at Green Buffaloes and national team, Emmy Musonda described Kajiya as a selfless and highly sociable person.
“Jet-man (Kajiya) was a great guy on the pitch; he was exciting and always brought results off the pitch. He was someone who never had a grudge and was always joking. We shall miss him for the football he played and the friend he was to us,” Musonda said.
Some of the prominent personalities present were Brigadier-General Oliver Monde, Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) vice-chairperson, Mwamba Kalenga, FAZ vice-president, Boniface Mwamelo and committee members and staff.
Others were Zambia Football Coaches Association (ZAFCA) president, Patrick Kangwa and his deputy, Lewis Shambulo, who played alongside the deceased, Peter Kaumba and George Lwandamina, and many others.