FRANCIS CHIPALO AND MUKWIMA CHILALA writes
I pledge to pay the 10,000 Swiss Franc (K120, 000) fine that the FIFA Appeals Committee has imposed on Kalusha Bwalya, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo has said.
Commenting on the lifting of the ban slapped on former Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Lusambo said his decision to pay the fine on Bwalya’s behalf does not in any way cast aspersions on the latter’s ability to pay the penalty.
“It is a small attempt at thanking Kalusha for the many years of great service to Zambia. As a football fan, I wish to join millions across the world that have welcomed the decision by the FIFA Appeals Committee to uphold the appeal lodged by our celebrated football icon,” Lusambo said.
He said the development heralds a fresh chapter in the redevelopment of the game of soccer in Zambia.
“As someone who always believed in and supported Kalusha’s appeal process, I can proudly state that the landmark decision by the Appeals Committee has vindicated me,” he added.
He further said after facing so much ridicule and disdain even from some of the people that personally benefitted from his football exploits, Bwalya had shown tenacity, will power and the never-die spirit that has made him an accomplished sportsman.
“My call is that the football family can now put the failures of the past few years behind and use this groundbreaking ruling as an opportunity to get Zambian football back to winning ways,” he said.
Lusambo further stated that Bwalya’s return into the fold means that the nation and the rest of Africa can again benefit from his unrivaled expertise in football administration.
“I also invite other well-meaning football fans to join me in this noble and humble crusade to offset the fine as a way of paying homage to a great son of the soil. If only one hundred fans put away a K1, 000 each, a greater portion of that fine would be paid off.
“I should state clearly here that the funds to honour my pledge to pay the fine on behalf of Kalusha will be fully funded from my personal resources and will be made in my capacity as a football fan” Lusambo added.
Meanwhile Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has welcomed FIFA’s reduced sanctions on Bwalya.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka today, FAZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala said the association has received correspondence from the world football governing body indicating that the former FAZ president’s sanctions were reduced from the time he was banned on July 28 last year to the time the sanction was lifted on Monday this week.
Kashala praised Bwalya for being cooperative and compliant in serving his ban adding that the association has welcomed him back to football.